Denmark: The Incremental Way Towards a Deep-Seated Marketization of Service Delivery

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Contemporary delivery of municipal park and road services in Denmark is, in sharp contrast to the 1980s, highly marketized. In-house providers are operating as semi-autonomous and ‘corporate-like’ units, a variety of contracting models are applied, private delivery is substantial and mixed delivery with direct competition between the public and private is widespread. This chapter traces how the changes towards a ‘deep-seated marketization’ came about. The changes are found to be incremental and historically driven by a pragmatic policy approach to who should deliver services with substantial degrees of freedom for municipalities. However, a steady push, in particular driven by right-wing governments, in policies and administrative initiatives including an increasing adherence to more cohesive policy instruments has sustained the development of a wide-ranging and deep-seated marketization of service delivery at the municipal level. Furthermore, the characteristics of contemporary marketization are found to resemble classical doctrines in the new public management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarketization in Local Governments : Diffusion and Evolution in Scandinavia and England
EditorsAndrej Christian Lindholst, Morten Balle Hansen
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication dateFeb 2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-32477-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-303-32478-0
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • marketization
  • privatization
  • reform
  • denmark
  • survey
  • history


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