2. august 2011

Change and Continuity in Danish and Norwegian Capitalism: Corporatism and Beyond

Antologibidrag af Mikkel Mailand

The literature on varieties of capitalism (VoC) has illuminated contemporary relations between state and social partners as well as between capital and labour in advanced economies. As stated in other chapters in this volume, the literature on VoC has largely focused on the larger industrial countries and ignored the small EU member states. This is also the case with the small Scandinavian countries.

Relations between state, capital, and labour in earlier studies in political economy and industrial relations - especially those found within the studies of corporatism are often presented as one of the key issues to understand the dynamics of the Scandinavian states. Cooperation and consensus- oriented relations between these actors - that in terms of power are more equal than in many other countries - have also been said to be an important factor in the economic success of these countries. Sweden became the prime example of Scandinavian corporatism and was often included in comparative studies. Less attention was paid to relations in the two other Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark.

Taking its point of departure from the premise that relations between state, capital and labour are of special importance in understanding the dynamics of capitalism in these small Scandinavian countries, the chapter pays special attention to corporatism in a wider empirical comparative analysis of the state and development of capitalism in Denmark and Norway. However, corporatism and the four other themes selected for the country-chapters in this volume - welfare state system, labour market legislation, corporate governance and tax regime - are closely connected, because corporatism should be seen as policy processes employed in relation to various economic and social issues, such as the four other areas. In the two small Scandinavian countries in focus corporatism is especially relevant for the first two of the four other areas, as will be illustrated by the analysis below. Hence, elements of corporatism will be found in sections other than the section on corporatism below.

This chapter argues that although Denmark and Norway can be seen as Coordinated Market Economies (CME) - one of the two types within the VoC approach - a more accurate description might be Negotiated Economies (NE) as suggested by Pedersen and Campbell & Pedersen. NE is a more decentralised, network-based and learning-oriented version of CME. Further complicating the classification of the two countries as CMEs is the recent development of a liberal direction within the two countries. This development seems to have been stronger in Denmark than in Norway, but has not transformed the countries into Liberal Market Economies (LME), the other ideal type within the VoC approach.

Bidrag til antologien The Changing Political Economies of Small West European Countries, Uwe Becker (ed.), Amsterdam University Press, 2011.