Public policy, gender equality and labour markets

Policy making in the Nordics is characterised by the welfare state and a culture of working together, from the cross-party parliamentary culture, to tripartite negotiations between the government, employers and employees, to gender inclusiveness in the workplace. Many of these aspects are seen as making up what is often referred to as the Nordic model. However, gender segregation within the workforce remains high and other complex paradoxes exist that must not be overlooked. This page seeks to provide articles on both the traditional view of the Nordics as well as research that deconstructs that view. New articles are added on a regular basis.


Utlendingsdirektoratet, Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. Photo: Brage.aronsen, Wikimedia

2019.02.18 | Article, Kristina Bækker Simonsen, Multiculturalism, Public policy

Political approaches to immigration in Scandinavia since 1995

Immigration has been described as one of the policy areas where Denmark, Norway and Sweden have differed most since 1995. In 2018, Denmark was amongst the most restrictive countries in Western Europe, Sweden the most liberal and Norway somewhere in-between. These differences can be explained, at least to some extent, by divergent approaches to…

Despite being latterly less popular, Nordic trade union confederations still provide millions of workers with advice and the public with information. Photo: a graph by the Swedish LO showing the percentage of unionisation by work type and gender.

2019.02.18 | Article, John Logue, Labour markets

Trade unions in the Nordic countries

Trade unions play a more important role in Nordic politics and economics than they do in most other countries. This is largely a result of their organisational success, which has made them key actors in policymaking as well as in collective bargaining.

2019.02.18 | Article, Anne Heith, Culture, The arts, Gender

1970s feminist culture in the Nordics

The feminist movement that flourished in the Nordic countries during the 1970s had strong roots in anti-capitalist, socialist ideology. It was powered by a host of social events, community building, artistic creation and political activism.

Wage policies in the 1950s led to greater wage equality.

2019.02.18 | The Quick Read, John Logue, Law, Labour markets

Solidaristic wage policy

Solidaristic wage policy refers to the practice, noticeably carried out in Sweden during the 1950s, of limiting wages in the most profitable sectors and increasing wages in less profitable sectors. It was carried out in order to achieve more equal wages on a national basis. It also had the consequence of heightening economic competitiveness…

The living room at Harpsund, with former British Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison visiting, 1953. Svenska Dagbladet via IMS Vintage Photos, Public Domain.

2019.02.18 | The Quick Read, John Logue, Democracy, Governance

Harpsund democracy

Harpshund democracy is the Swedish practice of regular tripartite consultation between government, trade unions and businesses on major policy decisions. The consultation reflects the importance of the major interest organisations in shaping and implementing policy in the Swedish political model. The assumption is that strong policy can be built…

A poster from a 2010 demonstration against the Danish government's plan to pass a number of money-saving measures including reduce the period of unemployment compensation from four to two years. The law was subsequently passed. Photo: Musernes Samlinger (Arbejdermuseet).

2019.02.15 | Article, John Logue, Labour markets, Democracy

Labour markets in the Nordics

National labour markets in the Nordic countries reflect trade union and Social Democratic principles of full employment and solidarity, while conforming to the conditions of capitalist market economies. They combine high levels of labour force participation with excellent systems of unemployment compensation. Throughout the region there is now a…

Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash

2019.02.08 | Article, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Education, Culture

Social sciences and the Nordics

Because of the emphasis on social planning and the strong state prevalent in the Nordic region throughout the twentieth century, the social sciences have enjoyed a privileged position in the Nordics.

The Norwegian Fredrik Barth, the most influential contemporary Nordic anthropologist. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

2019.02.07 | Article, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Education, Culture

Anthropology and the Nordic countries

Anthropological studies contribute new knowledge on Nordic societies and simultaneously offer fresh perspectives on them.

Demonstration against the so called 'ghetto list', Copenhagen September 2018.

2019.01.16 | Article, Nicola Witcombe, Public policy, Gender, Multiculturalism

Compulsory childcare in socially marginalised areas in Denmark

In Denmark, according to a law passed in December 2018, parents who live in certain areas designated by the government (dubbed 'ghettos') have to send their children from the age of one to nursery as part of an effort to increase integration. The initiative illustrates several important aspects of a Nordic state-run nursery system and Nordic…

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