The Nordic model

The Nordic model has gained much attention, both politically and scientific, in recent years. In the 1980s and 1990s the model was considered as not being viable, the model is now viewed as a role model for other societies, and there is strong international interest in knowledge that explains the model's growth and success.

Although there obviously are clear differences between the Nordic countries, they share some characteristics that distinguish them from other countries. The Nordic model is characterized by the interplay between:

  • stable economic management with a strong emphasis on full employment,
  • a regulated labour market with strong parties and coordinated wage formation, and
  • comprehensive, tax-financed welfare states with redistributive profiles.

Central to understanding the model's functioning is the balance of power between social partners and between the political parties. This balance of power has made it possible to coordinate various policy areas, and to reach compromises.

The model has proven viable through crises, and it has managed to combine efficiency and equality. People in the Nordic countries enjoy good living conditions in a comparative perspective, and the Nordic countries are ranked on top in international comparisons of indicators as employment, gender equality, income inequality, unionization and adaptability.

Since the 1980s Fafo has carried out a number comparative studies of the development of national labor and welfare regimes in Scandinavia and Europe.

In 2014, the project was NordMod 2030 finalized. This project was led by Fafo and included researchers from all the Nordic countries. The purpose of the project was to illustrate how national and international developments have affected the Nordic countries and to highlight challenges the Nordic model are facing in the coming years. Read more about this project on

The Nordic model



Research professor
Managing Director
Jon Erik Dølvik
Fafopaper 2022:13
Åsmund Arup Seip
Medbestemmelse og innflytelse
Unios rolle gjennom 20 år
Fafo-rapport 2021:33
Anne Mette Ødegård, Bjorn Dapi, Kristin Alsos, Jon Erik Dølvik, Tone Fløtten, Hanne C. Kavli, og Anna Hagen Tønder
Fafo-rapport 2020:32
Sissel C. Trygstad, Jon Erik Dølvik, Kristine Nergaard, Johan Røed Steen og Elin Svarstad
Fafo-notat 2019:18
Sissel C. Trygstad og Johan Røed Steen
De tillitsvalgte og medlemmene
Framtidens arbeidsliv: Notat 4
Fafo-notat 2019:17
Johan Røed Steen og Sissel C. Trygstad
Arbeid, teknologi og kompetanse
Framtidens arbeidsliv: Notat 3
Fafo-notat 2019:16
Jon Erik Dølvik og Johan Røed Steen
Fafo-notat 2019:15
Kristine Nergaard og Elin Svarstad
Hva kan vi lære av historien?
Framtidens arbeidsliv: Notat 1
Fafo-notat 2019:14
Bertil Rolandsson, Jon Erik Dølvik, Anna Hedenus, Johan Røed Steen, Anna Ilsøe, Trine Pernille Larsen, Tuomo Alasoini, Elisabeth Hjelm
Digitalization in Nordic manufacturing: Some case-study illustrations
Nordic future of work project 2017–2020: Working paper 3
Tomas Berglund, Jon Erik Dølvik, Stine Rasmussen and Johan Røed Steen
Changes in the occupational structure of Nordic employment: Upgrading or polarization?
Nordic future of work project 2017–2020: Working paper 2, 2nd etition
Kristine Nergaard
Atypical labour markets in Norway
Nordic future of work Brief 7 March 2019
Sigurd M.N. Oppegaard, Anna Ilsøe, Kristin Jesnes, Bertil Rolandsson and Antti Saloniemi
Uber in the Nordic countries: Challenges and adjustments
Nordic future of work Brief 1 March 2019
Kristin Jesnes and Fabian Braesemann
Measuring online labour: A subcategory of platform work
Nordic future of work Brief 2 March 2019
Kristin Jesnes, Anna Ilsøe and Marianne J. Hotvedt
Fafo-report 2016:38
Jon Erik Dølvik
Welfare as a productive factor
Scandinavian approaches to growth and social policy reform
Fafo-paper 2016:01
Arne Backer Grønningsæter and Svein Erik Stave
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development
Challenges and possible implications for Norway. Discussion paper
Other Fafo-publications 2015
Sissel C. Trygstad, Kristin Alsos, Inger Marie Hagen og Ragnhild Steen Jensen
Fafo-rapport 2015:18
Jon Erik Dølvik, Tone Fløtten, Jon M. Hippe and Bård Jordfald
Fafo-report 2015:07
Gudmund Hernes
Klimapolitikk i den nordiske modellen
NordMod2030. Delnotat 3
Fafo-notat 2014:19
Lisbeth Pedersen og Søren Kaj Andersen
Fafo-rapport 2014:31
Katrín Ólafsdóttir and Stefán Ólafsson
Economy, Politics and Welfare in Iceland
Booms, busts and challenges. NordMod2030. Sub-report 4
Fafo-report 2014:13
Olav Elgvin og Gumund Hernes
Fafo-rapport 2014:41
Tone Fløtten, Jon Kvist, Lilja Mósesdóttir og Lisbeth Pedersen
Ulikhet, arbeidsintegrering, tjenesteproduksjon og likestilling. NordMod2030. Delrapport 10
Fafo-rapport 2014:42
Jon Erik Dølvik, Tone Fløtten, Jon M. Hippe og Bård Jordfald
Fafo-rapport 2014:46
Steffen Lehndorff
A sleeping giant?
German trade unions in the European crisis. NordMod 2030. Sub-paper 2
Fafo-paper 2014:07
Søren Kaj Andersen, Jon Erik Dølvik og Christian Lyhne Ibsen
Fafo-rapport 2014:08
Tomas Berglund & Ingrid Esser
Fafo-rapport 2014:10
Jan Fagerberg and Morten Fosaas
Fafo-report 2014:26
Jon M. Hippe og Øyvind Berge m.fl.
Fafo-rapport 2013:15
Tone Fløtten, Åsmund Hermansen, Anne Hege Strand og Kristian Rose Tronstad
Fafo-rapport 2013:14
Jon Erik Dølvik
Grunnpilarene i de nordiske modellene
Et tilbakeblikk på arbeidslivs- og velferdsregimenes utvikling. NordMod2030. Delrapport 1
Fafo-rapport 2013:13
Richard B. Freeman
Little Engines that Could
Can the Nordic economies maintain their renewed success? Sub-report 3
Fafo-report 2013:22
Johan Christensen
Nordisk skattepolitikk mot 2030
NordMod2030. Delnotat 1
Fafo-notat 2013:07
Gudmund Hernes
Med på laget
Om New Public Management og sosial kapital i den norske modellen
Fafo-rapport 2007:09
Fafo-paper 2007:07
Gudmund Hernes
Den norske mikromodellen
Virksomhetsstyring, partssamarbeid og sosial kapital. Fafos Rådsprogram 2006-2008
Fafo-notat 2006:25
Torgeir Aarvaag Stokke, Jon Erik Dølvik and Kristine Nergaard
Other Fafo-publications
Other Fafo-publications
Kåre Hagen og Jon M. Hippe (red)
Svar skyldig
Velferdsstatens utfordringer - partienes svar
Fafo-rapport 092

Jon Erik Dølvik & Paul Marginson

European Journal of Industrial Relations | 2018 | Les mer / Read more

Hansen, Nana Wesley and Åsmund Arup Seip

Government employers in Sweden, Denmark and Norway
European Journal of Industrial Relations | 2017 | Government employers in Sweden, Denmark and Norway

Engelstad, Fredrik / Larsen, Håkon / Rogstad, Jon / Steen-Johnsen, Kari

Introduction: The Public Sphere in Change. Institutional Perspectives on Neo-corporatist Society | 2017 | Open access

Engelstad, Fredrik / Larsen, Håkon / Rogstad, Jon

The Public Sphere in the Nordic Model | 2017 | Open access

Jon Erik Dølvik, J. G. Andersen and J. Vartiainen

The Nordic Social Models
Consolidation and Flexible Adaptation | 2015

Jon Erik Dølvik and Andrew Martin

Introduction | 2015

Jon Erik Dølvik and Andrew Martin

From Crisis to Crisis
European Social Models and Labour Markets Outcomes in the Era of Monetary Integration | 2015

Andrew Martin and Jon Erik Dølvik

Conclusion | 2015

Tone Fløtten, Arne Grønningsæter, Jon M. Hippe og Jon Christensen

Den reformerte velferdsstaten – en ny samfunnskontrakt | 2007

Mona Bråten, Jon Erik Dølvik, Frode Longva og Arild H. Steen

Norwegian Labour Market Institutions and Regulations | 1997

I: Jon Erik Dølvik og Arild H. Steen Making Solidarity Work? The Norwegian Labour Market Model in Transition

Tone Fløtten og Jon M. Hippe

Befolkningen åpner for reformdebatt | 2013 | Les mer / Read more

Marianne Jenum Hotvedt, Natalie Videbæk Munkholm, Dagný Aradóttir Pind, Annamaria Westregård, Marjo Ylhäinen and Kristin Alsos

The future of Nordic labour law
Facing the challenges of changing labour relations | 2020 Download temanord2020-534.pdf

Tone Fløtten og Bård Jordfald

Den norske modellen – en supermodell? | 2019 | Last ned / download PDF

Jon Erik Dølvik and Johan Røed Steen

The Nordic future of work
Drivers, institutions, and politics | 2018 | Last ned pdf / Download

ngelstad, Fredrik / Larsen, Håkon / Rogstad, Jon / Steen-Johnsen, Kari

Institutional Change in the Public Sphere
Views on the Nordic Model | 2017 | Open access

Jon Erik Dølvik and Andrew Martin (eds.)

European Social Models From Crisis to Crisis:
Employment and Inequality in the Era of Monetary Integration | 2017

I: Jon Erik Dølvik and Andrew Martin European Social Models From Crisis to Crisis:

Lars Magnusson, Henning Jorgensen and Jon Erik Dølvik

The Nordic approach to growth and welfare | 2009 | Les mer / Read more at ETUI

Jon Erik Dølvik, Tone Fløtten, Gudmund Hernes og Jon M. Hippe

Hamskifte. Den norske modellen i endring | 2007 | Les mer / Read more

Gudmund Hernes og Jon M. Hippe

Kollektivistisk individualisme. Epilog | 2007