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Work, Welfare and Institutional Change in Scandinavia

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Book Announcement: Work, Welfare and Institutional Change in Scandinavia


The Scandinavians come up at the top of the game when it comes to both economic competitiveness and social welfare. New book by two Norwegian researchers – Fredrik Engelstad and Anniken Hagelund scrutinizes Nordic – in particular Norwegian – working life and welfare states from the perspective of institutional change. In "Cooperation and Conflict the Nordic Way", just published fully in open access, the authors collate a broad set of institutional features that paved way for the Scandinavian welfare state.

Albeit similar on a large set of indices, Scandinavian societies differ in interesting ways. Up to now empirical studies with institutional perspectives have mostly focused on Sweden and Denmark; here Norway is placed at the center, however with several sidelong glances to the other Nordic countries.

The analyses range from property rights, boardroom politics and wage formation to old-age pensions, care work and childcare policies. The Nordic model is still perceived with a mixture of applause and disbelief. Among its merits, but also a precondition to its future survival, is its capacity to modify and adapt to changing circumstances. The present volume offers a thorough picture of societies characterized by ongoing, often incremental, social and political reform processes. Tripartite relations of coordination and negotiation in the labor market and beyond, give shape to power relations and political processes in particular ways. And close connections between labour market, welfare state, family and gender policies work to create institutional bundles – in an even stronger way than assumed in the Varieties of Capitalism literature.

"Few regions of the world have succeeded so well for its citizens along all central dimensions of success. This book provides novel insights into the historical and contemporary sources of these successes."; says Prof. Trond Petersen from University of California, Berkeley. “Covering a broad set of topics and each of them in considerable depth and great insight, it, simply put, presents an invaluable contribution to our understanding of how to create and sustain successful societies, carefully interweaving empirical case studies with theories of institutional change. At the same time it maintains an objective stance to the analysis of the Nordic countries.” offers prof. Petersen.

The book is available fully in open access to read, download and share on De Gruyter Online.