Nordic Social Policy: Changing Welfare States

Nordic Social Policy: Changing Welfare States

Nordic Social Policy: Changing Welfare States

Nordic Social Policy: Changing Welfare States

Synopsis

Nordic Social Policy provides new insights into the evolution of welfare state measures by focusing on developments in the Nordic welfare states -- Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark -- during the past decade. Including chapters from over twenty contributors, this comparative work examines the changed preconditions of welfare policies, analyzes changes in welfare measures, investigates developments in the welfare of the people, and looks at developments in public support for the welfare states.

Excerpt

Universal public social care and health services?

Juhani Lehto , Nina Moss and Tine Rostgaard

Introduction

One of the major characteristics distinguishing the Nordic welfare state model from other types of welfare state models is the way in which the Nordic countries have arranged their health and social care services. the Nordic welfare state is called a ‘public service state’, because most health and social care services are funded from tax revenue and are provided by public—either local or regional— authorities. the principle of ‘universalism’ is extended to include, in addition to cash benefits, also access to health and social care services. in particular, the social care services are available for and used by a significantly larger proportion of the population than in the other European welfare states (Anttonen and Sipilä 1996; Rostgaard 1996). High professional standards for the universal services have also been an important policy goal in the Nordic countries. the widening of the principle of high professional standards from health care and education to social care services is a characteristic that is not as evident in other welfare states.

The way health and social care services are arranged has a significant impact on the Nordic societies. For instance, it is an important explanation for the great proportion of public sector jobs in the total employment and, particularly, in the employment of women. the extent of social care services is often linked to the high rate of female participation in wage labour. Universal health services reduce the socioeconomic risks linked with the need for health care, and universal social care services reduce the socioeconomic risks linked with having dependent children and elderly people in the family.

The aim of this chapter is to study to what extent the actual health and social service systems in the Nordic countries have corresponded over the last two decades to the particular characteristics attributed in comparative welfare state research to the Nordic welfare state

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