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Completed project

Staying competitive: Challenges for a small open economy

Project period 2014 - 2018
Project employer Norges forskningsråd
Project nr. 10031
Project leader Erling Barth

The primary objective is to produce high quality research that increases the understanding of how a small open economy adapt and stay competitive, faced with challenges from the financial crises, increased immigration, and offshoring, as well as challenges from a large oil and gas sector.

The proposed project consists of three independent, but closely related sub-projects.

In the first sub-project we study how productivity, wages and profitability are related to innovation and competition, utilizing variation both over time, caused by the financial crisis and the great recession, and induced by globalization.

In the second sub-project we investigate how native workers' employment, occupational specialization and educational investments are affected by higher immigration and more offshoring. How does stronger integration in the international labour market affects employment and the optimal direction of natives’ skill formation; both for the individual and for the society?

In the third sub-project we investigate how increasing international economic integration influences the welfare state. Greater exposure to international competition might imply a higher level of external risk and income volatility for large segments of the labour force. We want to examine to what degree the exposure to external risk leads to a growing demand for publicly provided social insurance, because voters want to insure themselves against potential income losses due to international competition.

One of the main critical R& D challenges in the project is to identify causal relationships. In order to do that, we will exploit state of the art methods.

The findings from the project should be of high relevance, both for the research community and policy makers.


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Erling Barth Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 930 91 410
Harald Dale-Olsen Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 482 83 527 +47 958 08 463
Henning Finseraas Affiliated Researcher PhD +47 482 83 631
Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen Professor
Marianne Røed Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 480 39 594
Pål Schøne Research Professor PhD +47 986 22 125
Jon Horgen Friberg (Fafo)


  • Friberg, Jon Horgen & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2021). Bortskjemte nordmenn og sultne innvandrere. Arbeidsgiverpreferanser og betydningen av etnisitet i norske arbeiderklasseyrker. In Ljunggren, Jørn & Hansen, Marianne Nordli (Ed.), Arbeiderklassen. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
  • Barth, Erling; Bryson, Alex & Dale-Olsen, Harald (2020). Union Density Effects on Productivity and Wages. Economic Journal. 130(631), p. 1898–1936. doi: 10.1093/EJ/UEAA048. Full text in Research Archive
  • Finseraas, Henning; Høyland, Bjørn & Søyland, Martin G. (2020). Climate politics in hard times: How local economic shocks influence MPs attention to climate change. European Journal of Political Research. doi: 10.1111/1475-6765.12415. Full text in Research Archive
  • Finseraas, Henning; Røed, Marianne & Schøne, Pål (2019). Labour immigration and union strength. European Union Politics. 21(1), p. 3–23. doi: 10.1177/1465116519881194. Full text in Research Archive
  • Barth, Erling; Davis, James Creece & Freeman, Richard (2018). Augmenting the Human Capital Earnings Equation With Measures of Where People Work. Journal of Labor Economics. 36, p. S71–S97. doi: 10.1086/694187. Full text in Research Archive
  • Friberg, Jon Horgen & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2018). Ethnicity as skill: Immigrant employment hierarchies in Norwegian low-wage labour markets. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 44(9), p. 1463–1478. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2017.1388160. Full text in Research Archive
  • Friberg, Jon Horgen & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2018). The Making of Immigrant Niches in an Affluent Welfare State. International Migration Review. doi: 10.1177/0197918318765168. Full text in Research Archive
  • Barth, Erling & Moene, Karl Ove (2017). Reell eller Ideell Konkurranse. Samfunnsøkonomen. 131(2), p. 92–102. Full text in Research Archive

View all works in Cristin

  • Dale-Olsen, Harald (2018). Wages, Creative Destruction, and Union Networks.
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2017). Immigrant Niches and Ethnic Hierarchies In Norwegian Low-Wage Labour Markets.
  • Friberg, Jon Horgen & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2016). Structuring Liquid Migration: The Role of Labour Demand in Shaping Patterns of Mobility.

View all works in Cristin

Tags: Arbeid
Published Oct. 11, 2017 9:10 AM - Last modified Feb. 18, 2020 10:01 AM