The Nordic Countries

Mikko Kautto

in The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579396
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

The Nordic Countries

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This article discusses the descriptive premises involved in the notion of a distinctive Nordic welfare model. It then asks in what sense the Nordic welfare states constitute a distinctive type, and whether its core features have remained stable in recent decades. The article also argues that welfare state developments in the 1990s and 2000s have posed serious questions concerning both the continuity and the coherence of the model. The Nordic countries bear some ‘family resemblance’, especially when viewed in a broader comparative framework. The design of social insurance schemes, the role of services, and the functioning of the labour market are addressed. The global interest in the Nordic model is best explained by Scandinavian countries' long record of good economic as well as social performance. The model arguably appeared to be fairly robust in the early 1990s, despite the fact that new winds of change were already blowing at that time.

Keywords: Nordic welfare model; Nordic welfare states; Scandinavian countries; social insurance schemes; services; labour market

Article.  7131 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Public Policy

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