For a long period of time, Sweden was considered a role model with regard to its attitude towards the work environment. There were several reasons for this. In 1945 Sweden was one of the few countries in Europe which had not been exposed to two world wars, and this was one of the factors behind its material affluence. The affluence of the country created a good climate for social research and reforms. Historically, Sweden had had a relatively strong tradition in these fields. Slavery had been abandoned much earlier in Sweden than in most other European countries. One of the basic fundamentals of social research-population statistics-also had early beginnings in Sweden, in the eighteenth century. Four decades of uninterrupted social democratic rule contributed to the climate of social reform, which resulted in the creation of a special agency for the protection of workers, the National Board of Occupational Safety and Health, a large institute for Research on Occupational Health and Safety, and a national research council, the Work Environment Fund, for research grants. The latter has contributed financially to a large number of research projects.