Many agents and regulations are of importance for the functioning of the Swedish labour market in practice. The list of authorities and other organisations that can have an effect on the functioning of the labour market is long: The Employment Office, The Social Insurance Office, the social services of the municipalities and the educational administration, trade unions, employers’ associations, temporary work agencies, the Swedish Employment Security Council and the Swedish Labour Court constitute some examples. The labour market is also directly affected by different regulations. This might concern formal rules about for example taxes, unemployment benefits, workers’ influence in the decision process, collective agreements or job security agreements. But also informal norms and unwritten practice work as rules on the labour market.

Understanding these institutions is of importance for our understanding of how the welfare sector and the labour market work in practice. Research within this area aims at increasing the knowledge about this. On an overall level, there are three tasks that are relevant:

- Describing the institutions in theory and practice. How is the Employment Office governed? How are the collective agreements really applied in practice?

- Explain why the institutions are the way they are. Why are the unemployment benefit rules applied in a certain way? What can create cooperation between organisations for employees and employers?

- What are the effects of institutions on the labour market? Does unemployment fall as an effect of a decrease in taxes on work? Is the Employment Office or the social welfare services best suited for finding jobs for unemployed people on social security?