The Nordic Governments' Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Comparative Study of Variation in Governance Arrangements and Regulatory Instruments

Tom Christensen, Mads Dagnis Jensen*, Michael Friederich Kluth, Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, Kennet Lynggaard, Per Lægreid, Risto Niemikari, Jon Pierre, Tapio Raunio, Gústaf Adolf Skúlason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Government responses to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Nordic states—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—exhibit similarities and differences. This article investigates the extent to which crisis policymaking diverges from normal policymaking within the Nordic countries and whether variations between the countries are associated with the role of expertise and the level of politicization. Government responses are analyzed in terms of governance arrangements and regulatory instruments. Findings demonstrate some deviation from normal policymaking within and considerable variation between the Nordic countries, as Denmark, Finland, and to some extent Norway exhibit similar patterns with hierarchical command and control governance arrangements, while Iceland, in some instances, resembles the case of Sweden, which has made use of network-based governance. The article shows that the higher the influence of experts, the more likely it is that the governance arrangement will be network-based.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegulation & Governance
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)658-676
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 02 October 2022.


  • Covid-19
  • Expertise
  • Governance
  • Nordic states
  • Politicization
  • Regulation

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