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Fafo-paper 2007:07

Jon Erik Dølvik

The Nordic regimes of labour market governance: From crisis to success-story?

Fafos Rådsprogram 2006–2008

ISSN 0804-5135
2007 52

Web edition (pdf 531kb) * More publications on this subject



The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of important commonalities and differences between the Nordic labour regimes, and their paths of adjustment in recent decades. It is hoped that such an overview can be useful in the ongoing debates over how to adjust to changing external and internal circumstances. In such presentations it is common to draw attention to the direct indicators of labour market organisation, typically:

• A high degree of union affiliation of workers;
• Centralised agreements and coordinated bargaining at several levels;
• Extensive worker representation at the company and community levels;
• Well-developed, smooth regulation of working life in legislation and agreements.

In 2006 Fafo initiated a programme titled ‘Leadership, cooperation and corporate governance in Norway’. The programme is conducted in cooperation with the Council of Fafo, where all the founding organisations of Fafo are represented. The aim is that the Council programme shall serve as an arena for exchange of views, experience and ideas as well as initiation and dissemination of research-based knowledge of relevance to the founders and the wider society. Based on a bundle of projects initiated for the period 2006 to 2008 (see next page), a series of working papers will be published and a web-page with relevant working life data and information is being developed.

This working paper about The Nordic regimes of labour market governance: From Crises to Success? is a written, extended version of a speech held by our head of research, Jon Erik Dølvik, at the Fafo 25th Anniversary Conference ‘Equality, diversity and inclusion: Challenges to the Nordic models in a globalised economy’ in Oslo, 15-16th February 2007 (www.fafo.no/konferansen/info-eng.htm). Based on several pieces of work in progress for publication elsewhere, the paper brings together information and analytical views that we consider are relevant for the participants in the Council Programme. Complementing the previous paper by Gudmund Hernes, ‘Den norske mikromodellen. Virksomhetsstyring, partssamarbeid og sosial kapital’, the paper feeds into the sub-project of the programme labelled ‘Flexicurity’.


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