Neoliberalism with Scandinavian Characteristics: The Slow Formation of Neoliberal Common Sense in Denmark

Rune Møller Stahl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article describes the ascension of neoliberal economic ideas in the macroeconomic establishment in Denmark. Based on a systematic analysis of documents from the Danish government and the Economic Council from the 1970s to the early 2000s, the article traces the development of the economic ideas and policy instrument that dominate the analytical process of the Danish macroeconomic establishment. The article applies a Gramscian-inspired framework to track the gradual and uneven process under which neoliberal economic ideas became common sense in the Danish context. This framework challenges some of the assumptions of the ideational focus of much constructivist literature, and offers an alternative analysis focused on the legitimating role of economic ideas. As much of the ideational change took place after policy adaptions to international economic developments, the Danish case provides little support for the theory of the causal power of ideas. Rather, it seems as though economic models and ideas are imported as ‘after the fact’ legitimations of changes in policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCapital and Class
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)95-114
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Published online: 9. July 2021.


  • Economic ideas
  • Gramsci
  • International political economy
  • Neoliberalism
  • Scandinavian political economy

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