Handbook of Social Capital

Handbook of Social Capital

The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics

Elgar original reference

Edited by Gert Tingaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen

The Handbook of Social Capital offers an important contribution to the study of bonding and bridging social capital networks, balancing the ‘troika’ of sociology, political science and economics. Eminent contributors, including Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom, explore the different scientific approaches required if international research is to embrace both the bright and the more shadowy aspects of social capital. The Handbook stresses the importance of trust for economies all over the world and contains a strong advocacy for cross-disciplinary work within the social sciences.

Chapter 13: The Nordic Welfare State

Thora Margareta Bertilsson and Christian Hjorth-Andersen

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory

Extract

Thora Margareta Bertilsson and Christian Hjorth-Andersen 13.1 Introduction The Scandinavian countries stand out in the present world economy as both competitive and well-functioning societies.1 This is an interesting observation in light of the fact that these societies, besides being wealthy also cultivate strong equity-values. This raises classic questions of compatibility between equity and efficiency: traditional views both in economics (Hayek, 1945) and in sociology (Schumpeter, 1976; Weber, 1978: 85–113; O’Connor, 1981) tend to propagate quite opposite views; too much focus on equity undermines efficiency, while efficiency in turn erodes equity. It may be unfair that one person is a professor and another person an asphalt worker but the gain in efficiency outweighs the costs of inequality. On a more general level, we seek to address the old relationship of the state versus the market in a new light: what are the mechanisms by which equity under some conditions can translate into efficiency? Gösta EspingAndersen has for decades been an ardent spokesman for the Nordic welfare mix, that heavily relying on tax-supported scheme of welfare subsidiaries for social and family care, in the long run, pools social resources better than any other model (Esping-Andersen, 1990, 1999, 2002, 2006). We are basically in agreement with Esping-Andersen here, but would like to stress the generic feature of the Nordic welfare states: the combined perspective of efficiency and equity was – and is – at the heart of its construction. From a social science point of view, such...

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