A comparative analysis of the evaluation of the two biggest reforms in Denmark and Norway in recent decades: the NAV reform in Norway and the municipal reform in Denmark

Hansen, M. B. (Speaker)

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


Two of the largest political-administrative reforms in the Nordic countries in the 2000s were the reform of labor and welfare administration in Norway (NAV reform) and the local government reform in Denmark.
The two reforms have a number of characteristics in common - also with other major political and administrative reforms. They were adopted centrally by the Parliament (Folketing/Storting), they affected large parts of the public sector and the population, they had several and partly incompatible objectives and they developed and changed over time. Furthermore the two reforms were characterized by a focus on formal structural change as the main policy instrument and included both the state, regional and local level of public administration.
Finally and crucial in this context, both reforms have been evaluated.
The presentation provides a systematic comparative analysis of the evaluations of the two reforms using four theoretical lenses: A rational instrumental perspective, a political interest-based perspective, an institutional cultural perspective and a chaos perspective.
The analysis shows that despite the reforms similarities their evaluations were organized in very different ways and had very different impact.
While the evaluation of the NAV reform in Norway was organized as a research-based external evaluation, the evaluation of Danish municipal reform was organized as an internal evaluation where key stakeholders got evaluation responsibilities. And while the evaluation of the NAV reform was used mainly for knowledge-building and creating debate, the evaluation of the local government reform was used instrumentally to adjust the division of labor between levels of government in selected areas of activity.
The presentation concludes with reflections on how these results can be interpreted and what lessons for evaluators they imply.
Period18 Mar 2015
Held atUnknown external organisation