Norwegian version

WellDebt: Debt problems, illhealth and labour market marginalisation

The project aims to fill knowledge gaps on the interrelationships between debt problems, poor health and labour market marginalisation.

A key challenge facing Norwegian society is the high and growing level of borrowing and the debt problems that can ensue, with strong warnings issued by the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Norway and the Financial Supervisory Authority. A primary goal of the welfare state is to protect its citizens from negative effects of poor health and marginalisation in the labour market. However, as more and more people borrow to increase their standard of living, debt problems can quickly become an integral part of a protracted health situation or labour market marginalisation process.

Debt often complicates the welfare state's ability to meet its responsibility, and there is evidence of important gaps in provision. Even though international studies suggest an urgency for comprehensive research on these issues, it is still an under-researched area in Norway. The proposed research aims to fill knowledge gaps on the interrelationships between debt problems, poor health and labour market marginalisation. We ask to what extent the Norwegian welfare state appropriately handles risks that arise from individuals borrowing money in the commercial marketplace.

The objectives of the project are 1) identify how debt problems, poor health and labour market marginalisation can, in combination, trigger adverse causal trajectories; 2) detect typical causal pathways and analyse the effects of current welfare provisions; and 3) investigate how adequately the Norwegian welfare state handles these risk situations and suggest areas where policies or interventions are needed to reduce the negative effects.

The objectives will be addressed by combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Intermediating mechanisms between debt problems, health and work will be identified through qualitative interviews. Using a unique data set merging data from administrative registers, health registers and the Brønnøysund Register, the project will analyse trajectories by looking at individuals’ health, work and debt histories over a 20-year period.

  • Participants at SIFO

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    • Partners

      • Faculty of Social Sciences, OsloMet
      • Work Research Institute AFI, OsloMet
      • University of Helsinki
      • University of Copenhagen
      • University of Bristol