The Nordic countries’ more holistic approach towards social spending and their focus on uplifting the skill levels of its workforce has led to higher standards of equality for its citizens, while at the same time maintaining decent levels of economic growth. Thus the notion that there must be a trade-off between economic performance and a more comprehensive welfare regime should be examined more thoroughly. Perhaps the debate for policy makers should be framed with regard to where the balance should be between growth and equity, rather than a trade-off.
This Working Paper by EU Centre Research intern Xiong Jieru discusses the key characteristics of the Nordic model and analyses if indeed expansive welfare provided through state support erodes work ethic and economic competitiveness of the Nordic countries. It also seeks to explain how the balance between economic and social objectives is maintained in some of the Nordic countries. In the light of the evidence provided, the key question would then be: how can the balance between growth and equity be moderated in Singapore?