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Family reunification regulation in Norway

Schedule: October 2016-may 2017
Employer: Utlendingsdirektoratet (UDI)

Project Approach

In this project we compare recent developments in Norwegian regulation of family immigration to developments in Europe. It is part of a wider European study on family migration regulation.

Three outputs will be available online: The full national report on Norwegian regulation contributed to European Migration Network, a summary of the Norwegian report and a comparison of Norwegian regulations with legislation and practice in other European countries. 

Researchers: Jan-Paul Brekke, Andrea Gustafsson Grønningsæter

Union agreements, wage growth and wage dispersion

Schedule: Januar 2017-mai 2018
Employer: Arbeids- og inkluderingsdepartementet

Project Aim

This project will study how different bargaining regimes and union agreements affect wage growth and wage dispersion.

Project Approach

The project surveys the existing literature on bargaining regimes and the relationship to wage growth and wage dispersion. Furthermore, we will describe the development of bargaining regimes and union treaties and the changes in the distribution of union wage premium centrally and locally in Norway, as well as describe empirically the wage growth and wage dispersion in Norway.

Finally, the project will provide a quantitative analysis of how the different bargaining regimes and union agreements and the associated premiums contributes to wage growth and wage dispersion, within and between workplaces and for different worker groups.

Local referendums

Schedule: January 2017-september 2017
Employer: Kommunal- og moderniseringsdepartementet

Project Background

217 local referendums have been held in Norwegian municipalities, in order to explore public opinion on municipal amalgamation. This has led to a discussion of referendums as a democratic tool.

Questions have been raised about the practical implementation of such referendums, and whether there is a need for national guidelines.

Project Approach

The project maps and discusses various aspects of local referendums on municipal amalgamation, and the role of  referendums in municipal decision-making more generally.


The project includs seven sub-projects, in which different types of data and methods are used:

1. A research-based overview of the use of local referendums

2. Analysis of existing data on the referendums that have been held

3. Carrying out and analysing an online survey to the municipalities that have held referendums

4. Analysis of qualitative interviews from a project on the Municipal Reform

5. Analysis and discussion of the electoral system (methods of alternative voting)

6. Analysis of survey data from the Norwegian Citizen Panel

7. A discussion of issues concerning the legitimacy of referendums

The project will collaborate closely with – and utilize data from – the project Reshaping the Map of Local and Regional Self-Government. A study of the Norwegian Local Government Reform (NLGR) processes 2014-2019.

Researchers: Jo Saglie, Signe Bock Segaard, Tor Bjørklund, Jan Erling Klausen, Morten Werring, Bjarte Folkestad

Women with immigrant background in the labour market

Schedule: February 2015-september 2015
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project Background

Women with immigrant background face several challenges in the transition to the labor market. It is therefore important to gather knowledge about the factors that constrain or promote their labor market participation.

This report focuses on existing research from Norway and the Nordic region and looks at the measures and efforts to include women with immigrant background in the labor market. Furthermore the report analyzes whether the existing efforts and measures work. The report concludes by presenting several recommendations for further research.

Further information:

Researchers: Julia Orupabo, Ida Drange

Between Income Maintenance and Activation: the legitimacy, implementation and outcomes of social security policies (TREfF-2)

Schedule: April 2016-march 2019
Employer: Norges forskningsråd


Treff-2 is a strategic project (ISP) aiming to develop and to stimulate a solid environment for social security research in Norway. The project is based on research conducted in the Treff-project (ISP 2010-2015). Its basic tenet is that in modern welfare states there is a tension between the concerns related to income security provision and those related to incentives and activation.

The balance between these concerns is disturbed by new political impulses and external demographic and economic shocks. The Norwegian welfare state has experienced both: international impulses and political trends are towards more activation, often in the form of sanctions and conditionality, while the oil price plummets, unemployment rises and Norway experiences record-high inflow of asylum seekers. In such an environment, the social security policy will have to be adapted.

Project Module A

Treff-2 comprises two major research modules; Module A is on politics and legitimacy, i.e., studies of polical support and motivation for changes and the relationship between public opinion and politics.

Project Module B

Module B is on implementation and outcomes, i.e., studies of how politics affect case-workers practice and the clients’ responses to these practices. Both projects employ qualitative and quantitative data, based on surveys and administrative registers. Both modules also explicitly endorse comparative dimensions.

Project Organization

Treff-2 is a collaboration between Institute for Social Research (ISF) and Center for the Study of Professions (SPS) at the Oslo and Akershus College of Applied Sciences. I addition the project involves collaboration with different departments and centres at the University in Oslo, such as Department of Economics, ESOP, Department of Political Science and Department of Sociology.

See also:

Researchers: Anne Skevik Grødem, Lars Inge Terum, Harald Dale-Olsen, Erling Barth, Gaute Torsvik, Andreas Eriksen, Talieh Sadeghi, Staffan Kumlin, Anders Molander, Henning Finseraas, Axel West Pedersen, Susana Vilhena, Pål Schøne, Øystein Marianssønn Hernæs, Inés Hardoy, Aksel Hatland, Kalle Moene, Anniken Hagelund,

The Limits of Sámi Politics: Inside and Outside of the Sámi Polity

Schedule: January 2017-june 2019
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project Description

The project explores different degrees of attachment to the Sámi polity in Norway and Sweden: Who are inside and outside of the Sámi polity? To what extent are boundaries drawn between those who are included in the Sámi polity, and those who are not?

Main Theme 1

One main theme is people who have an attachment to the Sámi community, but have not enrolled on the Sámi Parliament's electoral roll, or do not meet the criteria to do so. When the Sámi Parliaments were established, it was necessary to make a distinction between those who had the right to register as voters and participate in Sámi politics, and those who had not. We will carry out qualitative interviews and study media content, in order to explore attitudes towards this issue in the Sámi public debate, among the non-enrolled Sámi themselves, and among political actors.

Main Theme 2

Another main theme is the varying degree of Sámi attachment among those who have enrolled on the Sámi electoral roll. This is done by means of quantitative voter surveys. We ask to what extent the increasing urbanization leads to a weaker attachment to the Sámi polity, and to conflicts between the urban Sámi and the Sámi in the traditional settlement areas.

Main Theme 3

A third theme is the distinction between Sámi and non-Sámi in policy-making, which is increasingly based on statistics. Using qualitative interviews and document studies, we will study the use of Sámi statistics in policy-making, and how the boundaries between "inside" and "outside" are drawn in Sámi statistics.

Project Approach

We compare Norway and Sweden throughout the project. Although Norway and Sweden are similar in many ways, there are major differences in the Sámi policy of the two states, and in the legal basis and authority of the two Sámi Parliaments. The relationship between the Sámi voters and their respective Sámi Parliaments and nation-states also varies between the countries.

See also:

Researchers: Jo Saglie, Johannes Bergh, Torunn Pettersen, Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, Per Selle, Kristin Strømsnes, Stefan Dahlberg, Ulf Mörkenstam, Ragnhild Nilsson

The 2017 Sámi Parliament Election Study

Schedule: December 2016-december 2020
Employer: Sametinget

Main Part

A main part of the project is a representative voter survey with a sample drawn from the electoral roll of the Norwegian Sámi Parliament, carried out at the Sámi parliamentary elections in 2017. This is a follow-up of previous surveys from 2009 and 2013.

Key topics include:

1. Voter turnout and enrolment in the electoral roll

2. Voting and political cleavages

3. The political agenda – issues that are important for voting

4. Political trust

Work Package A

The project includes two in-depth studies. Work Package A studies how institutionalized and semi-institutionalized Sámi arenas are used to reach Sámi voters, and the use and importance of social media.

Work Package B

Work Package B studies the relationship between Sámi parties and electoral lists on the one hand, and other parts of Sámi civil society on the other. To what extent does a Sámi civil society exist, and how close is the relationship between Sámi civil society groups and electoral lists?

Researchers: Jo Saglie, Johannes Bergh, Torunn Pettersen, Eli Skogerbø, Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, Per Selle, Kristin Strømsnes

Growth, integration and coordination in executive government

Schedule: November 2016-July 2019
Employer: Forskningsrådet


Illustration: Colourbox.

Project Description

In the last decades, there has been a steep increase in the size of Norwegian ministries’ political staff and communication units. This project will study effects of these changes on horizontal and vertical coordination in the Norwegian government.

The project is a collaboration between a research group covering three academic institutions (ISF, UiO, HiOA) and the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi).

The project is partly comparative through studies on Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Main Project Goal

The project will consider concrete proposals to improve the coordination capability of the Norwegian government using three groups of measures: procedural changes; structural changes and formalization of informal norms and rules.

Research Questions

The project will address three main research questions:

  • How is the vertical and horizontal coordination in the government apparatus influenced by the increase in the size of the political staff and communication units?
  • Has the increase in the size of the political staff/leadership led to a stronger integration between politics and the civil service?
  • How does the increase in the size of the political leadership and the communication departments influence the relationship between the government and Parliament?

Further information:

Researchers: Rune Karlsen, Kristoffer Kolltveit, Jostein Askim

Disruptive Change and New Media Policies: A Field Approach

Schedule: December 2016-December 2019
Employer: Forskningsrådet

Project Objectives

The primary objective of the project is to provide in-depth knowledge about of i) the media policy field ii) the media industry field, and iii) individual news consumption.

The secondary objective is to analyze the implications of these changes for fulfilling media policy goals of an open and enlightened public discourse, and a corresponding enlightened understanding among the public. 

Project Approach

The project combines a longitudinal perspective on media consumption and media policy development, with contemporary institutional field studies focusing on the interplay between key actors.

This combined approach enables us to consider the effect of media policy in detail, as it has occurred both on the field level and the individual level, and to provide historically embedded knowledge that can shed light on contemporary challenges.

Field analyses of the Norwegian media industry taken in the broad sense, including new, emerging actors, such as digital intermediaries, as well as established key players will allow us to analyze the impact of digitalization in relation to external and internal diversity, as well as quality.

This is combined with the analysis of a unique and complex data set on individual news consumption that includes information on sources/platforms used as well as content, and how this has developed in different user groups over the past two decades, i.e. the development in exposure diversity at the individual level.

Finally we make use of a large, comparative data set that enables the study of the development of political knowledge within different national media systems over time to probe the link between source diversity in a given system and an enlightened, politically knowledgeable population.

Project Relevance

Ultimately, our design allows us both to provide most-needed empirical descriptions of current developments in media systems linked to digitalization and globalization, and to ask fundamental questions about the potential space for public media policies in an era of exponential increase in news offers, and in a situation where the policy field has been opened up to a range of new actors.

Further information:

Researchers: Rune Karlsen, Kari Steen-Johnsen, Bernard Enjolras, Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud, Vilde Sundet, Karoline Ihlebæk

Reshaping the Map of Local and Regional Self-Government. A study of the Norwegian Local Government Reform (NLGR) processes 2014-2019

Schedule: January 2016-december 2019
Employer: Forskningsrådet

"Reshaping the Map of Local and Regional Self-Government. A study of the Norwegian Local Government Reform processes 2014?2019" is a cooperative project involving a number of Norwegian and Nordic social scientists and research institutions.

The outcome of the Local Government Reform is still (as of the project start date of February 1st 2016) uncertain, but the reform is potentially the most extensive reform of the Norwegian political and administrative system in decades, attracting much public interest.

The Project Purpose

The purpose of our project is to describe and analyse the reform as it progresses from the point of initiation in 2014, until a second main phase of municipal amalgamations is scheduled to be implemented by the end of 2019. The research group will, in other words, monitor the reform process and collect data as the process unfolds.

The Local Government Reform could be characterised as one reform, but many reforms. It is one centrally led reform, rooted in the parliament’s and government’s decisions, and supported by a wide range of means and instruments – but also manifests itself in a variety of differentiated local and regional processes, where different actors discuss the conditions for amalgamations between municipalities (and between county municipalities). The research group aims to capture the reform as it unfolds at the various levels, and the dynamic between central and local processes.

Our data will consist of surveys, interviews and various documents. A number of local case studies will be carried out. With respect to methods, comparison will be an essential tool. The local processes in different parts of the country vary, and the differences call for explanation. The processes will also be analysed in light of experiences from other European countries, historical experiences from our own country, and other domestic cross-level reforms of the public sector.

More information about the project:

Researchers: Yngve Flo, Jo Saglie, Marte Winsvold, Bjarte Folkestad, Elisabeth Angell, Dag Arne Christensen, Gro Sandkjær Hanssen, Sigrid Stokstad, Jacob Aars, Anne-Lise Fimreite, Signy Irene Vabo, Jan Erling Klausen, Jostein Askim, Oddbjørn Bukve, Jens Blom-Hansen, Søren Serritzlev, Kurt Houlberg, Siv Sandberg