Has the Nordic Welfare Model Been Transformed?

Bent Greve, Jon Kvist

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

The Nordic welfare model is undergoing a fundamental transformation. Using Denmark we show how a universal welfare state model is gradually being transformed into an emergent multi-tiered welfare state. Whereas the Danish pension system's having become multi-tiered in the 1990s, with private schemes - collective and individual - supplementing public schemes is well documented, scant attention has focused on more recent developments in other areas of the welfare state. This article shows how the multi-tiered welfare state spread in the 2000s to policies for families, the unemployed and the sick. Although Denmark still offers universal coverage in core welfare state areas, the increased use of occupational and fiscal welfare as well as changes in public schemes has gradually transformed the nation into a multi-tiered welfare state that is more dualistic and individualistic, with participation in the labour market becoming still more important for entitlement to benefits. These profound changes have taken place in such a way that although core characteristics are still in place, new structures and understandings of the welfare state are also developing. Thus classical typologies need revision, so that they include more focus on this combination of universality and institutional attachment to the labour market. Moreover, measures of what welfare comprises should include not only public but also private elements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Volume45
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)146-160
Number of pages15
ISSN0144-5596
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Universal welfare state
  • Nordic model
  • Denmark
  • Occupational and fiscal welfare
  • Dualism

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