The OECD and European Welfare States

The OECD and European Welfare States

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler

The OECD and European Welfare States comprises 14 country studies considering OECD recommendations and their implementation in Western European welfare states, an analysis of the internal processes in the OECD, a theoretical introduction and a concluding comparative chapter. The overall results show a large degree of consistency in OECD analyses and recommendations, though little efficacy is revealed. The authors of this book have compiled a major contribution to the analysis of the impact of international organisations on national welfare states, widening the scope of traditional analyses of national welfare state development.

Chapter 5: Norway: an amenable member of the OECD

Nanna Kildal and Stein Kuhnle

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, welfare states


Nanna Kildal and Stein Kuhnle EMERGENCE OF THE NORWEGIAN WELFARE STATE Norway’s secular social care tradition dates back as far as the twelfth century. Care for the poor without relatives was organised on a local basis. This legdordning obliged peasants to offer accommodation and provide for poor people for a limited period of time. This institution lasted until 1900. In 1964, a law on social assistance replaced the poor law of 1900. Norway introduced compulsory elementary schooling for the whole nation as early as 1827. Although a law for compensation to injured miners was passed as early as 1842, the years 1885–1910 represent the first phase of major social reform initiatives in Norway. A law on compulsory accident insurance for industrial workers, modelled on the German law of 1884, was passed in 1894; subsidised voluntary unemployment insurance followed in 1906; and a compulsory sickness insurance law for workers and employees below a certain income was introduced in 1909 (Kuhnle 1986). Norway was among European latecomers in introducing an old age pension scheme: the first one, meanstested, dates from 1936. The tradition of public responsibility for welfare was strengthened with the merging of state and church bureaucracies after the Reformation of 1536. But it was only after World War II that Norway developed the so-called institutional – also known as the Scandinavian, or social democratic – type of welfare state (Titmuss 1974; Esping-Andersen 1990). This type of welfare state is characterised by the following features: the strong role of central and local...

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