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Catalog Archive / Spring 2023

Conflict Resolution in the Nordic World

The Nordic World
Copublished with Aarhus University Press

How the Nordic model mediates disputes between workers, businesses, and the state

This book examines the model developed in the Scandinavian countries for handling labor market relations between employers and employees—a model that has secured flexible and well-functioning labor market relations with comparatively high remuneration in case of sickness or unemployment. Consensual—and comparatively efficient—policies have likewise been pursued in agricultural, industrial, environmental policies, and in many policies related to public services.

The preconditions for these policies are strong civil societies, that is, strong capacities for collective mobilization and collective action among groups, relatively strong unitary states, and high levels of generalized trust. The institutional apparatus of these consensual policies has been labeled corporatism. Scandinavian corporatism has implied consent to a norm of affected interests. Groups that are supposedly affected by state policies have access to the processes leading up to political decision-making and are involved in the implementation of policies. This access often has public commissions or committees charged with preparing political decisions and delivering advice, as well as policy implementation committees.

Corporatist and consensual policymaking come at a price. The exchange between interest groups (in pursuit of policy influence) and state actors (in pursuit of information and political support from groups) tends to be time-consuming and confined to solutions that are accepted by all actors. Corporatist policies are consequently not very conducive to more radical reforms. After the heyday of corporatist policymaking in the 1970s, all the Scandinavian countries have loosened their corporatist structures to pave the way for reforms.


Peter Munk Christiansen is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University.



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August 2023
120 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

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Cloth $16.95 A
ISBN 9780299343744
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