Outsourcing of Scandinavian welfare societies

  • Henriksen, Lars Skov (Project Participant)
  • Sivesind, Karl Henrik (Project Licensee)
  • Thøgersen, Malene (Project Participant)

Project Details


Outsourcing of Scandinavian welfare societies. Consequences of private and nonprofit service provision for active citizenship

Several recent policy documents point out that welfare services in a traditional sense are not sufficient to meet demanding challenges to the Scandinavian welfare models sustainability. New types of relations between the public purchasers of welfare services and the providers often involve different forms of quasi-markets, open tenders, frame agreements, or user choice.

However, the Scandinavian countries have chosen different trajectories: Denmark has for a long time politically favoured non-profit welfare provision; Sweden has opened up for strong growth in for-profit provision; while Norway prefers public provision as long as there is sufficient capacity, in particular in compulsory education and essential health services.

The project is designed to improve our understanding of how welfare politics; allocation of service contracts to public, private and nonprofit providers; and citizen roles are linked, by addressing the following research questions: Under what circumstances are active citizenship roles as opposed to narrower consumerist roles likely to occur? Does it make a difference if the providers belong to the public, private or the nonprofit sector? Are there differences between welfare services where there is broad party consensus about the need to curb costs, as opposed to services where there is competition about improvement and expansion between the parties? Do the institutional logics by which welfare service contracts are allocated to providers and expectations coordinated matter, i.e. is there a shift from government to governance? The project will strengthen stakeholders` critical awareness of consequences of outsourcing and user choice for active citizenship.
Effective start/end date01/08/201231/12/2015

Collaborative partners

  • Institutt for samfunnsforskning (Project partner)
  • Videncenter for Folkeoplysning/Idrættens Analyseinstitut (Project partner)


  • The Research Council of Norway