The research program WELMARKS

Contact

Professor Ulrika Winblad

ulrika.winblad@pubcare.uu.se

Project coordinator Anna-Karin Swenning

anna-karin.swenning@pubcare.uu.se

Welfare markets in Sweden: what are the implications for social equity?

The research program investigates which effects the new welfare markets in primary care and elder care in Sweden has had on the political objective of social equity.

The provision of social welfare services to the population, and the roles of the state, market, and non-profit actors in this endeavor, constitute one of the most debated topics today, both politically and within the social sciences. Sweden has long been famous for its welfare model with a strong emphasis on the role of the state. However, over the last three decades, there have been far-reaching changes in this model. Social welfare has come to be characterized less by public provision of services and to an increasing extent organized as markets where private entrepreneurship and individual freedom of choice have been emphasized. Despite the fact that the first market reforms were introduced in the 1990s, there is still a lack of knowledge about the effects the welfare markets have had on the political objective of social equity, which critics believe is undermined by the construction of welfare markets. The research program WELMARKS aims to explore this question within Swedish primary care and elderly care, employing various perspectives and methods.

The research program consists of four sub-projects.

Sub-project 1

The primary focus of the first sub-project is to investigate how patients and users make use of the opportunity to choose providers, and how socio-economic factors impact these choices. The sub-project is led by Docent Mio Fredriksson, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences at Uppsala University.

Sub-project 2

The focus of the second sub-project is to analyse the welfare markets from the supply side, by studying how private welfare providers act strategically in the markets. The sub-project is led by Professor Josef Pallas, Department of Business Studies at Uppsala University.

Sub-project 3

The primary focus of the third sub-project is to investigate how the state endeavors to preserve equality within the welfare markets. This investigation encompasses the study of governmental efforts at the national, regional, and local levels aimed at ensuring high-quality and equitable access for all participants in the welfare markets. Leading this sub-project is Docent Linda Moberg from the Department of Government at Uppsala University.

Sub-project 4

The focus of the fourth sub-project is to compare Sweden with Norway and Denmark in order to gain a deeper understanding of what distinguishes Swedish welfare markets and why for-profit private companies have gained a more prominent role in Sweden. The sub-project is led by Professor Paula Blomqvist, Department of Government at Uppsala University.

Information about the research program

  • Funded by the Swedish Research Council and is scheduled to run from 2023 to 2029.
  • The program is led by Professor Ulrika Winblad
  • WELMARKS is a collaboration between researchers at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, the Department of Government and the Department of Business Studies at Uppsala University. The collaboration also includes researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Professor Ulrika Winblad

Professor Ulrika Winblad

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