The report deals with when, how and why Swedish municipalities and county councils have privatized tax-financed production of welfare services. Is it political ideology or cutting the costs that has been decisive? Why are there such large differences in the degree of privatization between municipalities in different parts of the country?
Those welfare services where the citizens themselves choose between public and private agents have a higher degree of privatization than those services where politicians make decisions about contract service in the private sector. The possibility of choosing between, for example, private and public care centres has led to an increased privatization in primary care. This is one of the conclusions in a new SNS research report, Welfare Services in a Private Regime: Emergence and Driving Forces.
The report deals with when, how and why Swedish municipalities and county councils have privatized tax-financed production of welfare services. Is it political ideology or cutting the costs that has been decisive? Why are there such large differences in the degree of privatization between municipalities in different parts of the country? The report contains the following answers:
In most cases, national privatization reforms have been preceded by local initiatives in individual municipalities. This applies, for example, to pre-schools and elderly care.
Neighbouring municipalities affect each other’s privatization policy. Municipalities are more prone to privatize if municipalities that are located nearby have introduced private alternatives at an early stage.
Small municipalities privatize to a very small extent. Several explanations are emphasized, for example that welfare companies’ willingness to establish themselves can be lower in these municipalities.
− If the Act on System of Choice in the Public Sector (LOV) were to become compulsory for elderly care, we would expect an increase in privatization in that sector. A stronger right of establishment increases private supply and citizens are less affected by ideology when they choose an agent than the publicly elected when they make policy decisions, according to Henrik Jordahl, Associate Professor (Docent) of Economics at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics and editor of the report.
The report is part of the SNS and IFN research programme From Welfare State to Welfare Society. The authors are the researchers Matz Dahlberg, Mikael Elinder, David Isaksson, Henrik Jordahl (ed.), Anders Lindbom, Heléne Lundqvist, Ulrika Winblad and Richard Öhrvall.
The report was presented at an SNS Seminar on November 13.
See the seminar on Youtube.
Participants at the meeting:
MIKAEL ELINDER, PhD, Uppsala University
DAVID ISAKSSON, Graduate Student, Uppsala University
HENRIK JORDAHL, Associate Professor (Docent), IFN
ANDERS LINDBOM, Professor, Uppsala University
HELÉNE LUNDQVIST, PhD, Stockholm University
ULRIKA WINBLAD, Associate Professor (Docent), Uppsala University
RICHARD ÖHRVALL, Researcher, IFN and Centre for Municipality Studies, Linköping University
ERIK LANGBY, Chairman of the Municipality Board in Nacka 1983-2012, Board Member of SKL and Moderaterna.
ASSAR LINDBECK, Professor at the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES), Stockholm University
ILMAR REEPALU, former Chairman of the Municipality Board in Malmö 1994-2013 and second Deputy Chairman of SKL and member of the EU Committee of the Regions.
SVEN-ERIK BUCHT, former Chairman (s) of the Municipality Board in Haparanda, member of the Finance Committee of Parliament
The meeting was chaired by THOMAS GÜR, journalist and author.