The Nordic Future of Work

Drivers, Institutions, and Politics

image of The Nordic Future of Work

The Nordic future of work How will work and working life in the Nordic countries change in the future? This is the question to be addressed in the project The Future of Work: Opportunities and Challenges for the Nordic Models. This initial report describes the main drivers and trends expected to shape the future of work. It also reviews the main distinctions of the Nordic model and recent developments in Nordic working lives, pointing towards the kind of challenges the future of work may pose to the Nordic models. Too often, debates about the future narrowly focus on changes in technology. This report draws attention to the broader drivers and political-institutional frameworks influencing working life developments, aiming to spur debate about how the interaction of changes in demography, climate, globalization and digital technologies may influence Nordic working lives in the coming decades.



The Nordic model: Past and present

The aim of this project is not only to provide knowledge about how the changing future of work may affect Nordic working lives, but also to study how the Nordic model as such can be affected by, and influence, the transition towards the future of work. As is well known, the Western countries have been marked by a variety of labour and welfare models, where the Nordic model has been viewed as distinct from the liberal labour markets residual welfare states of the Anglo-Saxon countries and the more state-regulated labour markets and occupation-based welfare systems of the continental European countries (Esping-Andersen 1990; Gallie 2007). According to the “varieties of capitalism” literature (Hall and Soskice 2001; Amable 2003), the different roles of markets, state, and institutional coordination in such models are associated with different sources of competitiveness and types of innovative capacity. While the liberal market economies tend to be ahead in path-breaking technological innovation, the coordinated economies are often regarded as stronger in production processes innovation, industrial skills, and emulation of new technologies. A central issue of this project, especially in Pillar 2 on digitalization and robotization of traditional work, is whether and how the Nordic models still fit with such general typologies and hypotheses.


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