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From "Something Not Rotten in Denmark," by Paul Krugman

Quality of Life Indicators in Denmark

  • Denmark has an active and comprehensive social system. Overall, working-age families receive more than three times as much aid, as a share of G.D.P., as their U.S. counterparts
  • Free health care
  • Free university education
  • In-home care for elderly, free or very low cost
  • With a top income tax rate of 60.3 percent and a 25 percent national sales tax, Denmark's tax take is almost half of the national income, compared with only 25 percent in the United States.
  • Job creation is high: Adults in their prime working years are substantially more likely to be employed in Denmark than they are in America.
  • Labor productivity is about the same in Denmark as it is in the U.S, although G.D.P. per capita is lower.
  • Denmark ranks at or near the top on International Comparisons' of "life satisfaction"

Where Denmark Fails:

  • While Denmark is a very rich nation, it has taken a hit in recent years because of a slow and incomplete recovery from the global financial crisis.
  • Denmark's 5.5 percent decline in real G.D.P. per capita since 2007 is comparable to the declines in debt-crisis countries like Portugal or Spain.
  • Denmark hasn't adopted the euro but manages its currency as if it had, which means that it has shared the consequences of monetary mistakes, like the European Central Bank's 2011 interest rate hike.
  • Denmark has faced no market pressure to reduce spending although it has adopted fiscal austerity anyways.
  • Denmark's following the euro provides a sharp contrast with neighboring Sweden, which doesn't shadow the euro, hasn't done much austerity, and has seen real G.D.P. per capita rise while Denmark's falls.


Denmark's data seems to indicate that social spending is not detrimental to a country's overall wealth.

Something Not Rotten in Denmark, Paul Krugman, New York Times October 2015 (abstracted)