Norwegian economy, history and politics

ELE429 Norwegian economy, history and politics

Spring 2024

  • Topics

    *Economy: GDP, foreign trade, natural resources, the Nordic model/ welfare state, "the petroleum fund".

    *History: independence, important industries and businesses, the public sector, historical development.

    *Politics: the Norwegian political system, political history, Norway and the EU, foreign policy.

  • Learning outcome

    The main objective of the course is to give students broad  knowledge of Norway. The course focuses on three main aspects of the country; the economy, the history and the political situation. It combines a descriptive approach with analysis of the factors that differentiate Norway from other countries.



    After completing the course, students will:

    • understand the features of Norway's economy and political system
    • know the most important periods in modern Norwegian history, as well as key historical persons
    • be familiar with some of the main features of Norwegian society



    After completing the course, students will be able to:

    • discuss how Norway has managed to rise towards the top in international indices
    • present the main sectors of the Norwegian economy, both currently and historically
    • give a broad overview of Norwegian history over the last 200 years
    • be able to describe and discuss some of the most important factors that distinguish Norway and Norwegian politics from other countries, in Europe as well as internationally


    General competence

    Students will acquire a familiarity with Norway that enables them to:

    • contextualize information about Norway
    • analyse and present information about Norway
    • participate in discussions about the country with both specialists and non-specialists

  • Teaching

    Traditional lectures, group work, hand-ins, class presentations, excursions.

    We will meet physically, and will only meet online if the situation changes and we are not allowed to meet on campus.

  • Restricted access

    Given that the course is intended for foreign students, students with their pre-university education from Norway will not be admitted.

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Curiosity about Norway.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    The course can not be taken by students who have taken the course SAM21.

  • Compulsory Activity

    • Participation in at least 75 per cent of the class hours. Students that are unable to reach this goal, will be asked to perform additional tasks to make up the necessary credits. Preparation for class is expected.
    • Two short (approximately 300-400 words) "encyclopaedia entries" that will be published in the "class knowledge base". The course instructor will provide a list of potential entries, and the students will produce two entries to be shared online with the other students, making up the knowledge base.
    • A class presentation, written as part of a group of 3-5 students. The course instructor will provide a list of potential topics.   
    • An essay (approximately 2000 words/ four pages), written individually, on a topic chosen by the student, and accepted by the course instructor
    • A "reflection piece" (approximately 1000 words / two pages) where the student discusses the knowledge gained from the literature in the course, focusing either on individual articles, a combination of articles or the full curriculum

  • Assessment

    Oral school exam.

    Duration: 15 minutes.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading is Pass/ Fail.

    In special circumstances, for instance if it is necessary for the student to get approval from their home institution, the grading scale A-F can be used. Students have to choose grading scale when registering for the course, and the grading scale cannot be changed after the registration deadline.

  • Literature

    Compulsory readings:


    Barth, Erling; Kalle Moene & Fredrik Willumsen (2015)  "The Scandinavian model : An interpretation," Journal of Public Economics 127 (2015), 17-29

    Overland, Indra (2016) "Norway: Public Debate and the Management of Petroleum Resources and Revenues," in Overland Indra (ed) Public Brainpower, Palgrave Macmillan


    Lie, Einar (2016) "Context and Contingency: Explaining State Ownership in Norway," Enterprise & Society  17(4), 904-930 

    Ryggvik, Helge (2015) "A Short History of the Norwegian Oil Industry: From Protected National Champions to Internationally Competitive Multinationals," Business History Review 89, 3-41 


    Fiva, Jon H. & Daniel M. Smith (2017) "Norwegian parliamentary elections,1906-2013: representation and turnout across four electoral systems," West European Politics 40:6, 1373-1391

    Wolforth, William C.; Benjamin de Carvalho; Halvard Leira & Iver B. Neumann (2017) "Moral authority and status in International Relations: Good states and the social dimension of status seeking," Review of International Studies, 1-21


    The students will also contribute to making a 'knowledge database' which will form part of the written curriculum


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Not offered autumn 2023

Course responsible

Professor Bjørn Lorens Basberg, Department of Economics.