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Political Partisanship and Welfare Service Privatization: Ideological Attitudes among Local Politicians in Sweden
Stockholms universitet, Institutet för social forskning.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3349-5778
2018 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 41, no 1, p. 75-97Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article ties in with a growing international literature examining the link between party politics and welfare service privatization in modern welfare states. In recent decades, a central aspect of policy change in Sweden is that private actors have come to produce publicly financed welfare services on a more regular basis. This overall privatization trend is furthermore characterized by substantial geographical variation across Sweden's 290 municipalities. The ideological attitudes of local politicians have been recognized as particularly important for understanding this development. This article examines the extent to which local politicians’ ideological attitudes regarding welfare service privatization are best explained with a partisan approach emphasizing between-party polarization as opposed to a critical perspective that points to the proclaimed significance of ideological consensus between left and right parties in certain municipal contexts. Using multilevel modelling and survey data collected from elected politicians in municipal governments, the empirical findings show substantial differences in attitudes between Conservatives and Social Democrats, irrespective of municipal characteristics – most notably the degree of welfare service privatization. Hence, the results strongly indicate that the partisan approach is much more fruitful compared to the consensus approach as a general explanation for local politicians’ attitudes towards welfare service privatization in Sweden. Accordingly, a conclusion is that comparisons at the subnational level within countries are important as a complement to country-comparative studies when attempting to understand the link between political partisanship and welfare service privatization in modern welfare states.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley , 2018. Vol. 41, no 1, p. 75-97
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-144216DOI: 10.1111/1467-9477.12109ISI: 000425113700004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-144216DiVA, id: diva2:1177857
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-1733Available from: 2018-01-26 Created: 2018-01-26 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Johansson Sevä, Ingemar

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