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Transnational Learning through Local Experimenting - The creation of Dynamic Complementarities between Economy and Society

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Transnational learning for national reforms

Is it possible to transpose the successful economic paradigm of Nordic countries to other EU nations? One EU initiative investigated the possibility.

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Nordic countries have weathered the economic crisis quite well and enjoy relatively stable economies, demonstrating strong competitiveness, healthy trade balances and high employment rates. They also boast an employment force with a high number of women, youth and senior citizens. Successes include Norway's oil industry, Finland's telecommunications industry and Sweden's innovation system, among others. But there is much more to this dynamic, as investigated by the EU-funded project 'Transnational learning through local experimenting - The creation of dynamic complementarities between economy and society' (Translearn). The project looked at national and global interaction among firms, accounting for their evolution, reform and successful welfare mechanisms. It concluded that the region's involvement in the global economy was facilitated by its experimentalist business systems and public welfare services. This has been encouraged by quality education, ingenious labour market policies, strong governance systems and enhanced training opportunities. Other nations, such as Slovenia, have looked at emulating the successful Nordic model and its institutional reforms through the concept of 'transnational learning'. Such a feat requires comparative national case studies, participation in the global knowledge-based economy and new policy measures for such objectives. The project found that renewal of business in the global economy also requires new risk-sharing approaches and transforming passive welfare services into collaboration with companies, employees, civil society and the public sector. This proactive risk sharing alleviates employee pressure, encourages lifelong learning and furthers knowledge-intensive business activities that drive the global economy. Research on Nordic successes can help formulate policies for other European nations, as in the test case of Slovenia, and overcome barriers in institutional reform of other national business systems.

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