Traditionally Sweden is heralded as epitomising the Scandinavian welfare model, not least to its perceived success in keeping unemployment and labour market inequalities low whilst still securing social protection and economic growth. In contrast, Denmark and Finland have been conceived as the Scandinavian “welfare laggards” primarily due to comparatively rudimentary active labour market policies. The development since 1990 has put an end to that. In fact there has been a role reversal. Denmark and Finland has been the most innovative in recasting a new Scandinavian activation strategy with a series of fundamental changes to their unemployment insurance and active labour market policies. Sweden followed their lead in 2001. This paper analyse these developments that have not been adequately addressed in the comparative welfare state research literature. It shows how the recast Scandinavian activation strategy is fundamentally different from the one prevalent at the onset of the 1990s, including in Sweden. Today social rights to economic compensation are complemented with rights to economic participation, and the obligations of unemployed to strive to become self-supportive have been markedly strengthened. The focus of active labour market policies is no longer to give unemployed new rights to benefit periods, but rather to aid them into work. As a consequence, the nature of social citizenship has changed towards a greater emphasis on participation just as the Scandinavian welfare state model have a greater degree of re-commodification than previously when de-commodification was at centre stage. This transformation of the Scandinavian welfare state has helped overcome some of the underlying pressures towards greater inequalities whilst still maintaining good social protection and without hampering economic growth.
|Journal||Revue Francaise des Affaires Sociales|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|