ASTK15369U COURSE: The Danish Labour Market in International Perspective

Volume 2015/2016

Bachelorlevel 10 ECTS

Masterlevel 7.5 ECTS


Since the nineties, the institutions and practices of the Danish labour market have been in focus worldwide. The reason is simple: In spite of all conventional wisdom, the Danish unemployment rate dropped more than ten percentage points from 1993 to 2007 (rising again during the Financial Crisis), while at the same time inflation has been low and stable. The key to this enigma is often claimed to be the Danish flexicurity model of the labour market. This famed model consists of three elements, often called “The Golden Triangle”: Flexibility for employers to hire and fire labourers, security for labour force participants by means of generous unemployment benefits, and an active labour market policy on the part of the state and local governments. This course will provide an insight into the functioning and the contemporary challenges of the flexicurity model: How do actors of the model cope with recession, international migration and other problems? Also, some comparative studies of labour markets in other countries will be included. As the course will start with some basics of labour market theory, no previous knowledge in the field is required.



The course will be in five parts:

  1. Theory of labour market policy
  2. History and institutional properties of the Danish labour market and comparisons with labour markets of other countries
  3. Contemporary challenges of labour markets, including globalisation and demographic shifts
  4. Labour market reform in Denmark and other countries since 1994
  5. Selected issues like discrimination, international migration, transnational companies and corporate social responsibility, chosen by the students


There will be good opportunities for the students to influence the course details and the teaching.


Learning Outcome

Description of objectives for the course


  • The student should know basic theories of the labour market and be able to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses
  • The student should know the institutions of the Danish labour market and their history
  • The student should know the elements and workings of the flexicurity model
  • The student should be able to compare institutions and functioning of a number of labour markets of other countries
  1. Ehrenberg & Smith: Modern Labor Economics 11th ed. Pearson 2012. Ch.s 1-16: Pp. 1-585. 585 pages
  2. Andersen et al.: The Danish Economy. An International Perspective.3rd ed. DJØF Publishing 2010. Ch.s 1, 2, 5, 6, 8: 153 pages
  3. Morley et al. (eds.): Global Industrial Relations. Routledge 2006. Ch.s 1, 3, 10, 11, 12, 15: 114 pages
  4. Jørgensen & Madsen (eds.): Flexicurity and Beyond. Finding a new agenda for the European Social Model. DJØF Publishing 2007. Ch.s 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18: 296 pages
  5. Kleven & Kreiner: Labor Supply Behavior and the Design of Tax and Transfer Policy. 2005. Paper written on the occasion of Claus Thustrup Kreiner’s inaugural lecture as full professor at the University of Copenhagen. 38 pages
  6. Madsen: How can it possibly fly? CARMA research paper, Aalborg 2005. 32 pages
  7. Sweezy: The Theory of Capitalist Development. Modern Reader Paperbacks 1942, 1970. Ch.s. II, IV, V. 58 pages

Total: 1276 pages


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

Criteria for achieving the goals:

  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner