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Bargaining, Politics, and Solidarity: A Different Story?
A Study of Employment Relations and Occupational Welfare in Norway. Doctoral Dissertation

Jon M. Hippe

Fafo-report 228

Web edition

The Norwegian case offers an opportunity to tell a different story of occupational welfare. Opposed to what is conventionally perceived, this works argues that occupational welfare plays an important role in the Norwegian welfare state and that, in certain periods, the growth of these arrangements has been a precondition for an expansion of public social policy programs. The study offers an analysis of the historical development of occupational welfare and its interplay with public programs as well as an analysis of why such benefits are offered by private sector companies. Among the conclusions drawn are:

  • Employee benefits that can be closely linked to social policy schemes (i.e. occupational welfare) show increasing importance as a form of remuneration and do form a distinct part of indirect remuneration
  • The provision of occupational welfare benefits is determined by factors internal to the firm, such as the organizations of labor relations, the system of wage bargaining and personnel policies. Employers tend to adjust their welfare strategies when unions enter the picture
  • The relationship between private and public welfare provision has been far from mechanical in the way that traditional theories of substitution could lead one to think. The substitution effect is to a large extent dependent on the nature of labor market institution

This analysis of occupational welfare indicate a revised understanding of how the Norwegian welfare state came to be far from a heroic version of welfare state development as a result of a grand strategic plan in which a homogenous labor movement consolidates its political power and quite simply legislates the “new society”.

Utgitt: 1997 Id-nr.: 228