A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
More or less equality? : Facts, debates, and policies related to the Nordic model (2021)

Roikonen, P., Ojala, J., & Eloranta, J. (2021). More or less equality? : Facts, debates, and policies related to the Nordic model. In A. Koivunen, J. O. Ojala, & J. Holmén (Eds.), The Nordic Economic, Social and Political Model : Challenges in the 21st Century (pp. 62-90). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429026690-4

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Roikonen, Petri; Ojala, Jari; Eloranta, Jari

Parent publication: The Nordic Economic, Social and Political Model : Challenges in the 21st Century

Parent publication editors: Koivunen, Anu; Ojala, Jari Ojala; Holmén, Janne

ISBN: 978-0-367-13475-4

eISBN: 978-0-429-02669-0

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 08/04/2021

Pages range: 62-90

Number of pages in the book: 272

Publisher: Routledge

Place of Publication: Abingdon, Oxon

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429026690-4

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/75133


The topic of income inequality has become a new nexus of research among historians and social scientists recently.1 Piketty (2014) has famously argued:

Inequality is shaped by the way economic, social, and political actors view what is just and what is not, as well as by the relative power of those actors and the collective choices that result. It is the joint product of all relevant actors combined.

Given that redistribution is a core element of the Nordic model and understood as key to the development of social trust and cohesion, all debates about social and cultural polarization are also debates about economic inequalities and the possible policy choices related to those issues. Moreover, in public and political discussion – in Finland especially – income inequality is in many cases conflated with various other forms of inequality in the society. This crucial difference in what is meant by scholarly versus political discourses at large can often lead to inexact policy debates and solutions. In this chapter we concentrate, mainly, on exploring the specific concepts of income inequality that are measurable and definable, especially what they tell us about this form of inequality in Finland and Sweden as our case studies. In addition, we will contextualize these cases through comparisons with the other Nordic countries as well as other polities. However, as we can see from our discussion here, there are striking differences, especially in the public discussions as measured by newspaper articles both in Finland and in Sweden, whether the discussion is focused on societal inequality in broader terms or, more specifically, on income inequality and its ramifications.

Keywords: welfare state; income differences; inequality; equality (values); justice; societal change; economic development; polarisation (social sciences); public discussion; societal systems

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2022-14-09 at 12:05