The Nordic welfare state in a European context: dealing with new economic and ideological challenges in the 1990s
Within the framework of a general discussion of in economically advanced West European democracies, this paper offers an account and interpretation of how the Nordic welfare states, often perceived as the most comprehensive and welfare states, met a number of challenges in the 1990s. Economic problems were most critical in Finland and Sweden in the early 1990s, and social policy reform activities with the aim of modifications of programmes and cutbacks in expenditure have been most pronounced in these countries. A single common denominator for Nordic welfare state development in the 1990s is a somewhat less generous welfare state, but Norway is generally an exception. The basic structure of the welfare systems has been preserved, and social, health and welfare issues are consistently of high priority for governments and voters. The welfare state is highly valued in Scandinavia, but more space for market and other non-governmental welfare solutions is likely to grow in the future.
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