To clarify the core characteristics of Nordic activation policies in the context of typologies of European activation governance.
The paper analyses activation governance in the light of the basic values and beliefs behind the formation of the Nordic social protection systems in the mid‐20th century. Recent model‐building efforts see the Nordic countries as being close to a “universalistic” and egalitarian type of activation policy that does not systematically submit citizens to work requirements. The authors ask whether this model captures the actual scope and contents of Nordic activation governance.
The Nordic countries‐based relatively generous income security systems on a strong work ethic and ambitions to maximise labour market participation of the working‐age population. Citizens's rights to income security were generally linked to the fulfilment of work requirements. Although this active governance of unemployed citizens eroded in the 1970s and 1980s all the Nordic countries revived it after 1990. Largely reflecting the dual structure of the income protection system, Nordic active approaches to activation are not egalitarian.
Nordic countries are currently implementing major administrative reforms in social protection, possibly creating more unified and egalitarian governance of activation. Future research needs to assess the impact of these reforms.
The article presents an analysis of activation policies that so far has been missing from comparative research and that will be of particular value for non‐Nordic readers who may have received a biased view of Nordic activation policies.
Johansson, H. and Hvinden, B. (2007), "Re‐activating the Nordic welfare states: do we find a distinct universalistic model?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 27 No. 7/8, pp. 334-346. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330710773908Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited