Growth and Employment in the ‘Nordic Welfare States’ in the 1990s: a Tale of Crisis and Revival

  • Jaakko Kiander
Part of the Social Policy in a Development Context book series (SPDC)


The group of ‘Nordic countries’ consists of five Northern European states: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. All of them are usually thought to be so-called ‘welfare states’ — i.e. egalitarian societies with extensive public sectors and income redistribution. They are also rich economies with high living standards and excellent quality of life. The best-known and the largest of the Nordic countries is Sweden, and it is not uncommon that discussions on welfare state simply refer to so-called ‘Swedish model’. Although the Nordic countries and their welfare models are not identical there are so many similarities between them and so many differences between them and the other European countries that it is legitimate to speak about a ‘Nordic model’. This chapter reviews the macroeconomic performance and the current state of the Nordic welfare states, and focuses especially on the experiences of Denmark, Finland and Sweden in the 1990s in adjusting their public sectors to fiscal consolidation.1


Welfare State Nordic Country Fiscal Consolidation Active Labour Market Policy Large Public Sector 
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© United Nations Research Institute for Social Development 2005

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  • Jaakko Kiander

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