Farewell flexicurity? Danish flexicurity and the crisis

Before the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, flexicurity topped the European labour market and social policy agenda. It was acclaimed for combining the flexibility of liberal labour markets with the security of social welfare states, thereby offering a viable formula for success in the new global economy. Nowhere was this better exemplified than in Denmark, with the Danish system repeatedly highlighted as a good example of flexicurity in action. In this article, we revisit the flexicurity concept, assessing how the Danish labour market came through the crisis. We argue that the economic crisis and especially political reforms of the unemployment insurance system have challenged the institutional complementarities of flexicurity, but that the Danish labour market is recovering and adapting to new challenges. The Danish case illustrates that institutional complementarities between flexibility and security are fragile and liable to disintegrate if the institutions providing flexicurity are not maintained and supported.


Author(s) T. Bredgaard, P.K. Madsen
Language English
Year of publication Apr, 2018
Journal Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research
Volume 2018
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