Old woman´s hand holding a teacup
Photo: Claudia van Zyl

Ready to serve? Structural reform, institutional quality, and welfare services in Swedish municipalities

Research project
Active research
Project size
5 500 000 SEK
Project period
2018 - 2024
Project owner
Department of Political Science

Short description

Questions regarding the quality of welfare services are both important to many citizens, and a frequently
highlighted theme in Swedish political discourse. A parallel discussion concerns a longstanding and intense debate over how the public sector ought to be organized in order to maximize both quality and effectiveness. This project merges these questions by focusing on the importance of institutional quality—characterized by an effective and impartial bureaucracy, free from corruption; a crucial factor for human welfare according to social science research, which has yet only received limited attention within the discussion on Swedish welfare.

By investigating the municipal level, with a particular focus on elderly care, we will conduct a number of comparative studies, both between municipalities and over time, in order to answer the question of how institutional quality affects the relationship between different modes of steering and the quality of welfare provision. Our approach will span from the political sphere, through administration, to the citizen level. Insofar, the project will generate new insights regarding why municipalities variably succeed in providing their citizens with welfare services. Moreover, it will provide new insights into how structural reform and different paradigms of steering, for example as part of New Public Management and more recent efforts to emphasize trust in the professional sphere, in turn matters for how Swedish municipal institutions function today.



Broms, Rasmus, Carl Dahlström and Marina Nistotskaya (2024). ”Provider Ownership and Indicators of Service Quality: Evidence from Swedish Residential Care Homes”. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 34 (1): 150–163.

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Broms, Rasmus, Carl Dahlström, Jenna Najar, and Marina Nistotskaya (2024). ”COVID-19 Mortality and the Structural Characteristics of Long-Term Care Facilities: Evidence from Sweden”. Public Performance and Management Review, published online January 8, 2024.

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Najar, Jenna, Rasmus Broms, Marina Nistotskaya and Carl Dahlström (2023). ”Predictors of COVID-19 outcomes among residents of Swedish long-term care facilities – a nationwide study of the year 2020”. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 31(6): 456–461.

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Broms, Rasmus, Carl Dahlström, Jenna Najar and Marina Nistotskaya (2021). ”Driftsform, personalsammansättning och storlek: Om strukturella faktorer och risk att smittas av och dö i covid-19 vid särskilt boende för äldre i Sverige” Report prepared for the Swedish Corona Commission SOU 2021:89. Stockholm: Government Offices of Sweden.

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