Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2010:11: The Nordic welfare model in a European Perspective

Susan Kuivalainen () and Kenneth Nelson ()
Additional contact information
Susan Kuivalainen: University of Turku. Department of Social Politics and Social Work, Postal: University of Turku, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, FI-20014 Turun yliopisto, Finland.
Kenneth Nelson: Stockholm University. Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Postal: Stockholm University, Department of Social Polisty and Social Work, SE-106 91 Stockholm , Sweden

Abstract: Social assistance and minimum income benefits are important indicators for assessing the very basic objective of social policy, namely to mitigate financial hardship and alleviate poverty. The Nordic countries have succeeded well from a comparative point of view in terms of poverty alleviation. However, last-resort safety-nets are changing. Scattered evidence indicate that Nordic social assistance have become less generous. Perhaps are the Nordic countries becoming more similar to the welfare models of Continental Europe or the United Kingdom? This study analyses central dimensions of Nordic social assistance, such as the generosity, scope and effectiveness of benefits. Data for the empirical analyses are from SaMip and LIS. We show that Finland and Sweden, particularly, have suffered from welfare decline, including less generous and effective benefits.

Keywords: Nordic welfare; Europe; Social policy; Poverty alleviation; welfare decline; Sweden; Finland

JEL-codes: D60; I38

36 pages, October 5, 2010

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN: 1652-120X ISBN: 978-91-85619-72-6

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