Labor Market Mobility in the Nordic Region: Cooperation and Conflicts

Astrid Refsgaard Møller

Student thesis: Master thesis


Since 1954, there has been a shared Nordic labor market which makes it possible for workers with a Nordic citizenship to live and work in all five Nordic countries. Many different actors with different interests are a part of the Nordic labor market. This thesis examines how it is possible to navigate between the different actors and interests and how it is possible to collaborate in spite of discrepancies between actors and their purposes.
The first part of the analysis gives an overview of the actors on the Nordic labor market and conflicts between them. The theoretical background for this part is organizational theory and its way to exam- ine economic markets. The second part of the analysis is based on Actor-Network-Theory and is a case analysis of the Danish ‘Norway project’ in the municipalities Hjørring, Frederikshavn and Brønderslev.
The problem is elucidated empirically through the appointed actors’ own communication on their webpages, articles describing the Norway project, documents from the three municipalities and inter- views with the leader of the Norway project and the chairman of the Labor Market Board in Hjørring. The analysis points out three conflicts:
1. Between EURES and national employment authorities, because of different views on mobil- ity.
2. Between different national employment authorities (e.g. Danish and Norwegian), because of clashes between national interests.
3. Between the Danish central and local employment authorities, because rules from the central authorities collide with local wishes to make use of the labor market mobility in the Nordic region.
The Norway project is a part of all three conflicts but manages to navigate between them.
By enrolling relevant human and nonhuman actors, the Norway Project establishes a strong network which makes it possible for the project to cooperate with the involved actors. Important for the net- work is common objects which is wide enough to gather the different interests. These ‘objects’ are the Nordic workers and the Nordic employers. These two groups are essential for all the actors in the network around the Norway project.
The Norway Project constitutes an example on how it is possible to make use of the labor market mobility in the Nordic region in spite of many different interests and purposes.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages84
SupervisorsMorten Knudsen