Challenges Facing the Danish Welfare State

  • Jørn Henrik Petersen


After outlining concerns about the basic objectives of the welfare state as suggested by the international literature, this chapter will briefly present data on the attitudes of the Danes regarding ‘their’ welfare state, suggest the causes underlying the change from a social security state towards a welfare state, introduce a number of indicators illustrating the rapid growth of the welfare state, and describe the Danish welfare state as nationally delimited by nature. I will show that this prototype of the welfare state faces a number of challenges: partly from an increasing openness of the economy; partly from a rising demand for leisure; partly from an unfavourable demographic development; and partly from the assumed reliability of bureaucratized humanitarianism. The contribution concludes that Danish politicians seem to be caught in a deadlock caused on the one hand by the need to ensure a sustainable fiscal policy, and on the other hand by the acknowledgement that the Danish population seem to react strongly against restrictions on time-honoured ‘rights’.


Labour Market Welfare State Labour Force Participation Rate General Taxation Welfare Spending 
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Copyright information

© Jørn Henrik Petersen 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jørn Henrik Petersen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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