Norway Travel Guide
Economy of Norway
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Norway is among the world leaders in offshore petroleum technology. Norway's oil-capital is Stavanger
Norwegians enjoy the second highest GDP per-capita and third highest GDP (PPP) per-capita in the world. Norway has maintained first place in the world in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001-2006). However, in 2007 Iceland very narrowly beat Norway as the #1 place according to the Human Development Index.
The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed economy, featuring a combination of free market activity and large government ownership. The government has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector, hydroelectric energy production, aluminum production, the largest Norwegian bank (DnB NOR) and telecommunication provider. The government controls 31.6% of publicly-listed companies. When non-listed companies are included the state has even higher share in ownership.
Referendums in 1972 and 1994 indicated that the Norwegian people wished to remain outside the European Union (EU). However, Norway, together with Iceland and Liechtenstein, participates in the European Union's single market via the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. The EEA Treaty between the European Union countries and the EFTA countries – transposed into Norwegian law via "EØS-loven"– describes the procedures for implementing European Union rules in Norway and the other EFTA countries. This makes Norway a highly integrated member of most sectors of the EU internal market. However, some sectors, such as agriculture, oil and fish, are not wholly covered by the EEA Treaty. Norway has also acceded to the Schengen Agreement and several other intergovernmental agreements between the EU member states.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. Large reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered in the 1960s, which led to a continuing boom in the economy. Norway has obtained one of the highest standards of living in the world in part by having a large amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population. The income from natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum production and the substantial and well-managed income related to this sector. Norway also has a very low unemployment rate, currently below 2% (June 2007). The hourly productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in Norway are among the highest in the world. The egalitarian values of the Norwegian society ensure that the wage difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most companies is much smaller than in comparable western economies. This is also evident in Norway's low Gini coefficient.
Cost of living is about 30% higher in Norway than in the United States and 25% higher than the United Kingdom. The standard of living in Norway is high, and oil exports lead to a conclusion that Norway will remain wealthy through the foreseeable future.
Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia
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