Handbook of European Social Policy
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Handbook of European Social Policy

Edited by Patricia Kennett and Noemi Lendvai-Bainton

This Handbook will comprise of 29 original pieces from key contributors to the field of European social policy. It is intended to capture the ‘state of the art’ in European social policy and to generate and contribute to debates on the the future of European social policy in the 21st Century. It will be a comprehensive and authoritative resource for research and teaching covering themes and policy areas including social exclusion, pensions, education, children and family, as well as mobility and migration, multiculturalism, and climate change.
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Chapter 15: Reflecting on Nordic welfare states: continuity or social change?

Bent Greve


This chapter describes, analyses and presents the Nordic welfare states in the classical understanding, as egalitarian, universalistic countries with large public sectors and high level of taxes and duties, and a long tradition of active labour market policy. It then goes on to reflect on the changes in the light of the recent crisis, focusing particularly on fluctuations in the labour market, health care and social care, as well as the position of migrants and developments in inequality. The analysis shows increasing inequality in the Nordic countries, while the labour market remains strong. However, the focus on and options for migrants have diminished compared with what they used to be. The chapter concludes that the financial crisis has changed the Nordic welfare states, and thereby also the Nordic welfare state model, although whether this would have happened anyway is open to interpretation. Despite the changes, there are still many distinct elements of the Nordic welfare state model, when compared with other European welfare states.

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