He received his Ph.D. from the Stockholm School of Economics in 1978. He headed the official Swedish Government Commission on the EMU, which in 1996 recommended to wait with introducing the euro. In 2003 when Sweden held a referendum on whether to join the EMU, Calmfors advocated in favor of joining.
Calmfors has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences since 1993, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 1995, and a chairman of the Committee for the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1996–1998 and 2003–2007.
Since 2007 he is the president of the Swedish Fiscal Policy Council, whose task is to evaluate Swedish economic policy.
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