Still holding its breath

The Finnish welfare system under reform

Authored by: Juho Saari , Liina-Kaisa Tynkkynen

Routledge Handbook of European Welfare Systems

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367259150
eBook ISBN: 9780429290510
Adobe ISBN:


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The Finnish welfare system has evolved over a period of more than one hundred years, from very modest origins to comprehensive institutional frameworks that cover most social risks from cradle to grave. In recent decades, most of its institutions have either been reformed, like it is the case with pensions, or alternatively, the reforms have failed (e.g. health and social services). Until the mid-2010s, there was much continuity as the reforms were gradual. Since the mid-2015s, there has been some retrenchment in unemployment and basic benefits and adjustment in pensions. However, all in all, most changes have been minor and there is still much continuity in the institutional structure of the Finnish welfare state.

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