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Nordic authoritarianism: Child-rearing values and political behavior in a multiparty context

Vilja Helminen, Hanna Wass, Anu Kantola, Marko Elovainio


This article explores how authoritarianism as a factor in child-rearing values (CRV) is associated with political orientation, party support, and policy preferences among voters and societal elites in the Nordic context, which is characterized by social trust and solidarity, feelings of affinity, and a modest degree of ideological polarization. Based on a representative citizen survey conducted in 2018 (n = 4,076) and an elite survey conducted in 2020 (n = 948) among Finnish political, administrative, advocacy, business, and influence elites, our findings suggest that authoritarianism in Finland mostly relates to culturally conservative, and less to economically conservative, political orientations. While authoritarianism is connected to policy preferences and political orientations on both cultural and economic dimensions, it has more relevance for preferences regarding cultural issues than economic ones. Our findings support the notion that authoritarianism plays a role in political orientation mainly in the cultural realm. Overall, our study indicates that authoritarianism as captured by the CRV scale might be a politically important underpinning among both citizens and societal elites also outside the U.S.

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Unpolitical solutionism: Wealth elite sentiments against democracy and politics

Hanna Kuusela, Anu Kantola


The last few decades have been marked by discourses that challenge many basic presumptions supporting liberal democracy. Populist parties in particular have raised criticism against democratic systems, and authoritarian programmes have made electoral gains. This article offers the elite's perspective on this phenomenon, which is often discussed in the context of lower income groups. Drawing from qualitative interviews with 90 Finnish top earners, the article shows how wealth elites sustain strong discontent towards liberal democracy and see it as an ineffective and sometimes fundamentally flawed system. They are concerned with its alleged (in)efficiency and disagreements typical of democratic processes and are correspondingly fascinated by solutions that are presented as self-evident but that no one has the courage to execute. In this article, we refer to this type of reasoning by introducing and developing the term unpolitical solutionism, which refers to a preoccupation with quick solutions to complex problems that are political in nature. The concept of unpolitical solutionism builds on discussions of unpolitical democracy (Urbinati) and technosolutionism (Morozov) and brings them to our dialog. By analysing wealth elites' views in a Nordic democracy and by developing the concept of unpolitical solutionism, this article contributes to recent discussions on different forms of unpolitical argumentation in the context of (liberal) economic thinking.

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Sosiaaliturva ja vastikkeellisuus : Tapaustutkimus Suomen perustulokokeilusta

Paula Saikkonen, Antti Halmetoja, Miska Simanainen


Vastikkeettomuus on yksi keskeisimmistä perustulon ominaisuuksista. Artikkelissa analysoidaan sosiaaliturvan vastikkeellisuuden muutosta Suomen perustulokokeilussa. Tulosten mukaan vastikkeellisuuden muutos oli kokeilussa vähäinen suurelle osalle perustuloa saaneista. Vastikkeellisuuden käsitteen huolellisempi käyttö tukisi sosiaaliturvajärjestelmän

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Reconciling welfare policy and sustainability transition – A case study of the Finnish welfare state

Paula Saikkonen, Ilmari Ilmakunnas


The paper investigates the capacity of welfare policies to support sustainability transitions. Welfare policy involves the discussion on public and private responsibilities and choices in public spending. The Finnish government's decision to turn Finland into a carbon neutral welfare society by 2035 is interpreted as a possible sustainability transition. The government launched a social security reform at the same time as the carbon neutrality target was announced. It was assumed that one of the major reforms would be utilised to achieve the carbon neutrality target.  According to our analysis, the Finnish government showed strong political will for sustainability transition. However, one of its major reforms was not utilised to create policies to support the shift towards a carbon neutral welfare society.

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Lapsuuden psykiatrisilla ja käytöshäiriödiagnooseilla on yhteys nuorten aikuisten maksuhäiriömerkintöihin

Aapo Hiilamo, Markus Keski-Säntti, Sami Pirkola, Tea Lallukka, Antti Kääriälä


Tutkimus selvitti miten lapsuuden psykiatriset ja käytöshäiriödiagnoosit yhdistyvät maksuhäiriömerkintöihin nuorilla aikuisilla ja miten yhteys vaihtelee vanhempien sosioekonomisen aseman mukaan. Maksuhäiriömerkinnät ovat huolestuttavan yleisiä haavoittuvissa ryhmissä. Nuorisopsykiatrian tueksi tarvitaan taloudellisia ongelmia ehkäiseviä toimia.

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BIBU Talks June 14

Is Unbiased Democracy a Bubble? Dilemmas in Democratic Designing


Thursday June 14 5–7 PM
Tiedekulma, Fönsteri-space (Yliopistonkatu 4)

“Stuck between a rock and a hard place” often describes realities of democratic practices. In an inclusive democracy, political participation should be accessible to all citizens. Yet, numerous studies show persistent inequalities in participation in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, health, education, and income.

Many countries have tried to tackle these biases and increase voter turnout using various methods such as postal voting, absentee voting, assisted voting, and proxy ballots or making voting compulsory. However, these efforts easily end up mobilizing those groups that were more active to begin with.

The BIBU Talk on June 14 at 5–7 PM in Tiedekulma, Fönsteri-space (Yliopistonkatu 4) addresses the biases in political participation and dilemmas in democratic designing. Professor Catherine Bolzendahl (University of California, Irvine), Assistant Professor Ruth Dassonneville (Université de Montréal) and Dr. Peter Miller (University of California, Irvine) will discuss how to make democracy work asking:

  •  How to promote equal democracy without simultaneously making unintended biases in participation?
  •  Is equal democracy an ideal that seldom can be achieved in practice?
  •  If some level of inequality is an unavoidable condition in democracy, how political system can still claim to be legitimate?

Please, register here and check out the Facebook-event here.

BIBU Talk is chaired by Academy Research Fellow Hanna Wass (University of Helsinki) who is directing a work package ”Mapping biases and bubbles in citizens’ participation” in the BIBU project.

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Paolo Fornaro

Economic Dynamics and Changes in Values and Attitudes among Finnish Regions: A Descriptive Analysis

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Finland is characterized by a substantial heterogeneity across its regions. Key economic indicators, such as the GDP per capita and the unemployment rate, vary widely for different areas, with Uusimaa, the region where Helsinki is located, being significantly richer than regions such as Kainuu and Savo. This heterogeneity, however, has not been stable over time. We find that many important indicators, namely the GDP per capita, the unemployment rate and real wages and salaries per employee, have been converging across regions over the years going from 2000 to 2014. Moreover, we examine regional values and attitudes, using surveys from the Finnish Business and Policy Forum, and find that there has been a strong regional convergence in terms of trust in political parties and in the EU. In particular, we find that the trust in these institutions has increased more in regions where there was a more negative attitude toward parties and the EU during the initial years of our analysis. On the other hand, we do not find a significant convergence with respect to the attitude towards immigration.