System Dynamics

PhD Project

Sustainability of the Norwegian Welfare State

Very often, policy makers see potential challenges to the state through incorrect mental models, which makes for poor policy development and implementation. System dynamics modeling is a valuable tool to gain insight into complex systems. Using the results in policy debate helps policy makers understand how changes to the current welfare system will affect society.


Erika Palmer
PhD Candidate Erika Palmer.

The Norwegian welfare system is amongst the most generous in the world. Norway has been fortunate in its economic stability, which maintains the level of welfare services. However, demographic changes are developing in Norway. The population is becoming older, and it has become an attractive country for migrants, especially coming from EU countries in Eastern Europe.

This PhD project evaluates these demographic changes and their effect on welfare services through system dynamics models. The Norwegian welfare state includes many different sectors, and the modeling focus in this project is on welfare services that are of the highest cost to the state and are very politically relevant, including: the pension system, the work leave support system, the unemployment support system and the child support system. These services are each sub-systems in the larger welfare system of Norway, and cumulatively they represent a significant portion of Norwegian social spending.