Historical Social Research

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Trygve Gulbrandsen: Continued Elite Support for the Norwegian Version of the Nordic Model? [Abstract]

In contrast to many other Western countries the Nordic countries, including Norway, have managed to uphold fairly high levels of employment and welfare states offering the citizens universal and relatively generous economic benefits. Moreover, the Nordic countries have industrial relations characterized by close cooperation between the main partners in the labor market. To a large extent the Norwegian version of the Nordic welfare state model rests on historical elite compromises forged between leaders of various class and interest organizations or movements. In general, there is (still) considerable support for the Norwegian welfare state model among the Norwegian elites. This is manifested by a widespread backing of more or at least the same level of spending on various important welfare programs. Such support is also demonstrated by an extensive endorsement of the collaborative system of industrial relations. The stability of the Norwegian version of the Nordic model is a result of a specific combination of facilitating conditions: A strong labor movement, a unique system of wage determination, institutional complementarity between this system and welfare state services and benefits, an influential profession of economists, a historically uncorrupt and efficient civil service, a strong rural counter-culture, and widespread egalitarian values.

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