• Article

The impact of privatization on the social welfare state

The delivery of “cradle to grave” services is a hallmark of Swedish
social welfare policy, but changes in the political and economic climate
of Sweden since the early 1990’s have created a demand for reform to
improve efficiency and responsiveness of public services. This article
analyzes the context in which privatization has been introduced in
Swedish elder care. Particular aspects of Swedish social policy
moderate the benefits commonly attributed to the privatization of public
services in other countries, such as cost-savings, efficiency gains, and
consumer choice. In addition, there are also potential negative
consequences, such as decreased access to and quality of services.
Moreover, privatization does not fit neatly into the existing bureaucratic
and regulatory structure of the Swedish social service sector. If Swedish
policymakers pursue further privatization of elder care and other social
services, they must recognize the necessary trade-offs with regard to
changing traditional social welfare policy


Kissam, S. (2004). The impact of privatization on the social welfare state. Michigan Journal of Public Affairs, 1, [2].