Working paper // World Institute for Development Economics Research 2010,116
The Nordic countries are often bundled together, as representatives of a 'model' which combines high living standards and an open market economy with social insurance and ambitious public services. Yet, the economic and political development of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden towards this model has taken quite different roads. Sweden's economic development from the late nineteenth century onwards can be seen as a rather spontaneous industrial breakthrough, whereas the state has in both Norway and Finland assumed a more active and interventionist role in mobilizing resources and managing natural endowments. However, the four countries are quite similar in their acceptance of the market economy, technical progress and economic openness, coupled with a pursuit of equality and a state that has alleviated resistance to change by signalling a will to share the gains and losses due to structural change.