Institutional fragmentation, institutional engineering and the development of elderlycare and childcare in Sweden
2006 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, Vol. 29, no 4, 285-307 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article seeks to identify institutional causes behind policy-specific retrenchments in the Swedish welfare state. During the austerity period of the 1980s and 1990s, the Swedish welfare state simultaneously experienced retrenchments in some fields and stability or expansion in others. Elderlycare is an example of tremendous retrenchment and childcare one of continuous expansion. A comparison of both fields suggests that the divergent trends might be related to different policy-specific levels of institutional fragmentation in the implementation process. In elderlycare, implementation was strongly fragmented between the central and local government level, with the central government providing only weak overarching regulation and the local governments enjoying considerable local implementation discretion. As a consequence, in this field, local governments had enough discretion to impose local retrenchment measures in order to adapt to the conditions of austerity. In childcare, a similar development did not take place because in this field the municipal implementation autonomy was severely circumscribed by strong central state regulations. It is probable that the different institutional preconditions in both fields have been shaped intentionally by means of governmental institutional engineering. The decentralized decision-making structure in elderlycare might have allowed the central government to induce blame-avoidant retrenchments on the local government level.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley InterScience , 2006. Vol. 29, no 4, 285-307 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4756DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9477.2006.00153.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-4756DiVA: diva2:143985