Long-term care services in Norway

A historical sociological perspective

Authored by: Karen Christensen , Kari Wærness

The Routledge Handbook of Social Care Work Around the World

Print publication date:  January  2018
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472479457
eBook ISBN: 9781315612805
Adobe ISBN:


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Norway is internationally known for providing one of the world’s most universal and comprehensive long-term care services. According to an OECD report, Norway’s expenditures on public long-term care services are 2.3 per cent of its GDP (OECD, 2013, p. 41), representing the third best position, after the Netherlands and Denmark. Part of this picture is the 90/10 percentage public/private share funding of long-term care services (Colombo et al., 2011, p. 231). This means that only a small part of these services are paid privately out of pocket, the public authorities thereby showing high responsibility. Another aspect adding to Norway’s high standard reputation is the widespread use in international literature of Esping-Andersen’s comparative analysis of welfare regimes (Esping-Andersen, 1999). This analysis places Norway in the Nordic social democratic regime, implying that the welfare state makes efforts to reduce people’s dependence on the market to a minimum, and simultaneously seeks to reduce the dependence on family care. The Nordic countries thereby appear as general forerunners of the development of generous welfare states, although welfare researchers today also problematize this by revealing decreasing Nordic generosity (see e.g. Hooijer and Picot, 2015). However, without doubt, Esping-Andersen’s analysis contributes to the high-welfare-standard picture of Norway, including the long-term care services that are the focus of this chapter.

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