The Danish Welfare model - for exchange students

Course content

The teaching in this course may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online due to COVID-19. For further information, see the course room on Absalon. The time, place and type of assessment used for the exam may also be changed due to COVID-19, and any further information will be announced under the panel “Exam”.

The Danish Welfare model is one of the most extensive and generous public models in the welfare states of the western world.


The Danish public sector is larger than any other country (more than 50% of GDP) and over 2 million Danes (out of a population of 5,7 million Danes) receive transfer payment from the state. With the “no contribution-principle” in education, health care and service for handicapped and elderly people, the Danish tax financed welfare thinking is carried much further than any other modern welfare state.


That is why there are good reasons to study Danish Welfare, as the best, famous and known in the world.


The welfare thinking in the country point out, that there has been no acceptance of the full consequences of the market forces, on economic distribution etc.


The welfare model has brought Denmark into the club of the ten richest countries in the OECD, with relative low unemployment rate, a substantial mobility on the labor market, over to the flexicurity model and a remarkable equally distribution of income, wealth and risks.


And the model is facing challenges – the economic growth has been slow, global competition and demography has set the model under pressure. The sustainability of the economy has been upturned by courageous welfare reforms in pension and labor policy. The outcome and knowledge of the course will be:


  • Knowledge of The theory, the system and the performing of the Danish Model
  • Knowledge of The origin and history and the legacy
  • Knowledge to analyze; The five financial sources and use the tools and on the Danish Welfare system
  • Knowledge of The organization of the welfare state, and The flexicurity model of the labor market
  • Understand the equality unequal’s, differences and disintegration and the impact from education and health care
  • Pension and retirement – There will be demand for perusing the democracy model and the civil society
  • Business to welfare – knowledge to be required as well as the meaning of it.
  • EU, Globalization and the Danish Welfare System



Non-Degree Course for all students at Copenhagen University and exchange students.


This course is NOT available for students enrolled in the bachelor or master programme at the Department of Economics.

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Obtain thorough knowledge of social welfare theory related to the Danish Model
  • Understand and identify the structure of the Danish welfare system today
  • Define the consequence of the welfare history at today’s structure and policy and understand the different outcome of the institutional solutions of the back ground of the different historical decisions
  • Understand elementary economics and statistical sizes in ex basic demography, and actuarial elementary technique – understand the model of the five financial sources and their impact on different goals in society
  • Account for different models of labor supply and the influence on retirement from the labor market
  • Understand and analyze the impact from future demography om the design of welfare structure



  • Analyze differences and inequalities.
  • Analyze the content of poverty disintegration, economic division between rich and poor – between generations.
  • Analyze welfare policy and its many alternative solutions in the market, in the public welfare end in the civil society.
  • Analyze the line between business and welfare.



  • Administrate economic and political functions, on a fair level in both the public and private sector.


Students in this course can be employed in international as well as national – regional or in municipalities – as well as in private companies, banks, insurance and in pension funds, and voluntary institutions, and social, humanitarian associations and NGO’s who are working with social welfare, social conditions or pensions.

During the course we will - if possible - invite opinion leaders from different political parties in the Danish parliament for a discussion on the future and reforms of the welfare state.

  • Social welfare The Danish model – Bjarne Hastrup, Copenhagen 2011. 451 p. Web-edition can be found at: 11)
  • The Social contract between the generations – Bjarne Hastrup, Copenhagen 2008,318 p. (BH 08)
  • The Danish Economic council – The English summary – spring 2019 – can be found at: (DORS 16)
  • Major Trends in Danish and Global welfare at the Dawn of the 21st Century - Bjarne Hastrup, Multivers Academic 2020, page 11-196, ISBN: 9 788779 172302


Notes from the professor in:

  • Privatization and outsourcing
  • Demography and actuarial calculations


There may be incongruence or insufficient cover between the hand-outs and curriculum. Then the curriculum is valid and will always be the valid curriculum at the exam.

This is a course for students with an interest in the Danish welfare system and with little or no training in economic theory. It is very relevant for international students as well as Danish students from non-economics fields’ e.g. political science, sociology, business, and humanities.

2x2 hours lectures a week from week 36 to 47 (except week 42).

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of lectures please press the link under "Timetable"/​"Se skema" at the right side of this page. E means Autumn.

You can find the similar information partly in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-E20; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn – Weeks 31-5”
Press: “ View Timetable

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 5 days
individual take-home exam. The exam assignment is in English and must be answered in English.

The answer must maximum fill 10 pages and maximum one page annex.

All questions should be answered. Please mark clearly in the text, what you submit as main text and what you submit as annex. Please mark at the front page your exam number.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
The exam may be choosed for external censorship by random check.
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 124
  • Exam
  • 40
  • English
  • 206