Changing social inequality and the Nordic welfare model

Jon Kvist, Johan Fritzell, Bjorn Hvinden and Olli Kangas

in Changing Social Equality

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426604
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305583 | DOI:
Changing social inequality and the Nordic welfare model

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This introductory chapter describes why and how the Nordic welfare model is interesting in the current era of reforming labour markets and social protection policies. The basic characteristics of the model are set out, with an emphasis on equality. This is followed by a discussion of the debated pressures on the equality aspect of the model that are created by changing demographic trends and globalisation. The demographic trend involves perhaps most notably an ageing population that challenges the economic sustainability of universal and generous welfare states as well as the gradual switch from homogenous to heterogeneous populations. Globalisation is associated with the well-known scenarios of brain-drain and welfare migration/social tourism. It also implies a potential double squeeze on the financing of the welfare state when greater wealth paradoxically reduces the means to finance the welfare state, on the one hand, resulting in less demand for work and more demand for leisure, and increases the demand for social services, on the other.

Keywords: Nordic welfare model; welfare state; ageing; globalisation

Chapter.  9865 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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