Maintaining welfare in the wake of collapse - the case of Iceland

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This paper details the state of affairs of welfare and social equality in Iceland in the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008. The main focus of the paper is on the perceived role of the welfare state and to what extent public policy departed from a neoliberal agenda in the wake of the meltdown. At the same time, we argue how the policy struggled in the context of an outdated geographical framework informing Icelandic governance. The paper unravels public policy in general discussing how and to what degree government austerity measures departed from the neoliberal ideal. Second, the paper outlines Iceland's status in comparison with neighbouring countries focusing on the Nordic context but with added insights from some of the British Isles. Thirdly, the paper will unpack the uneven geographies of Icelandic welfare policy in the wake of the meltdown. Finally, the paper will be summarised, concluding with a call for a coherent and socio-spatially sensitive regional policy as the collective decision that can underpin social equity and equality in the post welfare state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-137
Number of pages26
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Iceland
  • IMF
  • Public policy
  • Regional geography
  • Welfare

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