Norway has vast natural wealth of petroleum, hydro power, fish, wood, and minerals. The petroleum industry in the North Sea is by far the most lucrative and the price of oil affects the country directly. To avoid the collapse of family farms, Norway has carefully regulated guidelines on farmland. Farms are not divided among heirs, but the lineal descendants of a farmer have the first right to purchase a farm.
Norway's economy is a mixed economy with a capitalist welfare state and a combination of free market activity and large state ownership. Norway has ownership positions in the petroleum sector (Statoil), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft), aluminium production (Norsk Hydro), the largest Norwegian bank (DnB NOR), and telecommunication provider (Telenor). By controlling these companies, Norwegian government controls approximately 30 percent of the stock values at the Oslo Stock Exchange.
The country is set-up in the "Scandinavian mode". This means there are high taxes and high government spending to support free schools, free healthcare, an efficient welfare. Most jobs, even those requiring low skills, are well paid because of a compressed wage system. Most employment is with specialized services and manufacturing. However, the country is highly dependent on international trade for manufactured consumer goods. Norwegian's have the second highest GDP per-capita (Luxembourg is first) and third highest GDP (PPP) per-capita in the world. Norway has rejected membership in the European Union (EU) twice, in 1972 and 1994. However, the country is a member state of the European Economic Area and part of the Schengen agreement and follows most of the economic guidelines of the EU. All of these factors result in Oslo being a fairly expensive place to visit or live.
The metropolitan area of Oslo accounts for 25 percent of Norway's gross domestic product. The region has one of the highest per capita GDPs in Europe. Oslo has been ranked the second most expensive place to live in the world, and the most expensive in Europe according to the EAI.
The city is home some of the most important businesses of the sea. The city's port is the largest for cargo and passengers in the country. Approximately 980 companies and 8,500 employees within the maritime sector are based in Oslo. Det Norske Veritas has about 16.5 percent of the world fleet in its ranks.
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