194 Changing Nordic Welfare States? Crisis, Change and Consequences

Thursday, June 27, 2013: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM
C0.17 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Changing Nordic Welfare States? Crisis, change and consequences In spite of a highly remarkable economic performance during the economic crisis, Nordic welfare states seem to be undergoing quite significant transformations. At least we several instances where social insurance have become less generous and less universal. The goal of increasing labour supply has been pursued to a level where former ideals of citizenship have come under severe pressure. Social service expenditure has been prioritized at the cost of cash benefits. Public service provision in education and training, health care, child care and elderly care has been increasingly privatised. Regulation of labour markets change in tandem with plummeting union coverage and influx of migrants. The changes above are significant, but there are countervailing trends as well. Some changes may be justified as development of a social investment welfare state which is very much in line with the Nordic welfare state tradition. Others would seem to signify class struggle within the welfare state, with middle class interests and goals prevailing over working class interests. Ironically, in spite of political rhetoric, the changes are not justifiable in terms of economic pressures against the welfare state. As compared to European neighbours, the Nordic economies are healthier than even. This raises a series of questions that this roundtable will address. What drives the changes in the Nordic welfare states? Is the Nordic welfare model being dismantled or developed? What are the consequences of the transformation of the Nordic welfare model for the political economy of the welfare state beyond the Nordic hemisphere?
Jon Kvist
Bruno Palier
The Nordic labour market models: Adjustment in turbulent times
Jon Erik Dølvik, Fafo Institute For Labour And Social Research
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