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Nordic exceptionalism? Social democratic egalitarianism in world-historic perspective

Listed author(s):
  • Fochesato, Mattia
  • Bowles, Samuel

In what respect, if any, are the Nordic economies exceptionally egalitarian when viewed from a world historical perspective? Our answer is based on archaeological, historical and ethnographic as well as contemporary evidence over the past three thousand years. The countries exemplifying the Nordic model are not exceptionally equal in the ownership of material wealth. Moreover, the advent of social democracy in the Nordic nations did not result in a more equal distribution of years of schooling. But intergenerational economic and social mobility appears to be exceptional in the Nordic nations, and by most measures, inequalities in living standards in the Nordic economies are less than in other advanced economies. The closest Nordic analogy in our data set is to the egalitarian distribution of well-being and limited intergenerational transmission of wealth found in some horticultural and (especially) forager economies.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272714000504
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 127 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 30-44

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:127:y:2015:i:c:p:30-44
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2014.03.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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