Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler
Chapter 4: Finland: considering OECD guidelines but within national institutional settings
Pekka Kosonen INSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT Finland can be said to belong to a Nordic welfare model, or ‘Social Democratic regime’, more and more so since the beginning of the 1980s. Common goals like universalism, public responsibility for services, equality and full employment have united Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Based on a system of ‘social corporatism’, policy-making in these countries deviates in many respects from more market-oriented lines (Kosonen 1998). However, while Esping-Andersen (1990) stresses ‘decommodification’ in the Nordic welfare states, at least in the case of Finland the basis of the system in a ‘working society’ should be remembered. It is thus a question of a process in which the normalcy of wage-work has been made compatible with the universalist principle of social citizenship (Kettunen 2001). In the postwar period, both universalism and earnings-related benefits have characterised the Finnish welfare state. Universalism is in the interest of agrarian population and manual workers, whereas skilled workers and the middle classes have favoured earnings-related arrangements. Many systems like pension schemes, health insurance and public services represent a combination of these two, since both the Centre and Social Democrats (and the labour market partners) have had strong positions on these issues. The most important reforms date back to the 1960s (earnings-related pensions in addition to basic pensions, health insurance) and the 1970s (health care, day care), although the welfare state continued to expand during the 1980s. However, the deep economic recession in the first half of the 1990s (contraction of the...
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