International and Critical Perspectives
Edited by James Midgley, Espen Dahl and Amy Conley Wright
This chapter by Espen Dahl and Thomas Lorentzen examines labour market policy and related social polices in Norway, focusing on a selected set of recent reforms as well as their outcomes such as work participation and earnings, in particular for disadvantaged groups that are often targets of the reforms. A rather mixed picture emerges. Some reforms and parts of larger reforms carry the stamp of a true social investment approach, for example the reform in the Welfare and Labour Administration, and the Qualification Programme targeted at social assistance recipients. Other reforms, such as changes in the Work Environment Act, cuts in benefits for disability beneficiaries with low pre-disability earnings, and stricter conditions for receiving social assistance benefit fit poorly with a social investment strategy. Yet, it should be added that these reforms mostly tend to be carefully designed, are rather moderate in nature and restricted in scope. As these reforms are recent, their consequences are still unknown. Key words: social investment, international social welfare, labour markets, employment policy, Norway
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