Denmark once again ranks 5th in the Status Index.
The Danish public enjoys a robust democracy with a credible and transparent governance structure. The general level of public trust in government and public administration bodies is high.
Denmark demonstrates that an extended welfare state and sound economy are compatible. Indeed, the Danish model is often upheld as an example of a healthy economy bearing low unemployment rates and balance surpluses. Several problems have surfaced in the wake of the crisis (unemployment, low productivity growth). Nonetheless, macroeconomic indicators point to strong performance relative to most other EU countries.
Despite generous spending on education, the Danish school system does not deliver the expected performance. Sub-par achievement levels are of growing concern.
According to two consecutive SGI surveys, Denmark has the fifth highest quality of democracy in the OECD.
Electoral procedures are among the best in the developed world. Access to information in media and from government agencies is virtually unrestrained.
While civil rights and political liberties are legally provided by the constitution and protected by state authorities and courts, there are some instances of (race-based) discrimination in the labor market.
Rule of law is well-established. The judiciary is independent even if judges are appointed by the government. Moreover, Denmark is considered one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
No longer at the head of the ranking for economic and employment policy, Denmark now ranks 4th.
The global financial crisis brought an end to the Danish economy’s boom period and exposed underlying structural problems, including a shrinking industrial export sector. Public finances are also in crisis.
Unemployment has spiked since the crisis. Whereas employment among youth and women is relatively high, immigrants face exclusion from the labor market.
Enterprise regulation is modest and there is little bureaucratic red tape.
A 2010 tax reform shifts taxes from labor to the environment and broadens the tax base.
At rank 4, Denmark’s rating on issues of social policy remains very high.
A high tax burden enables an extensive welfare state both in terms of service provision and the social safety net. Inequality is low. Despite the period’s sharp fall in employment, various forms of social transfers prevent most individuals from experiencing dramatic decreases in income.
Health care services are universally accessible free of charge, regardless of economic circumstances. Basic access principles underlying the health care sector have been changed in recent years, with expenditure rising as a result.
Issues of immigration and integration remain controversial. While the employment rate for immigrants from low income countries has improved in recent years, problems of equity remain.
External security is largely based on NATO membership, with no serious conventional threats posed since the end of the cold war. The emergent threat of a terrorist attack is related to the so-called cartoon crisis and Denmark’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.
Danish defense forces and the police provide for internal security. Cooperation between police and defense intelligence has increased since 9/11. The homicide rate is low, and Danes normally trust the police.
At rank 4, Denmark’s approach to resource sustainability remains quite strong.
The country is one of the world’s most progressive in terms of environmental protection. EU data on the actual implementation of environmental policies suggest that Denmark is doing reasonably well.
Public sector R&D expenditures are expected to reach 1% of GDP. Private sector expenditure is lower than in Sweden and Finland but above the EU average. The country’s competitiveness is rated quite highly in international comparison.
Education spending is very high, but student achievement levels do not match. This has prompted considerable debate over teaching aims and methods.