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Privatisation and the Future of the Swedish Welfare State : An Experimental Study on the Effects of Privatisation on the Swedish Middle Classes’ Support for the Welfare State

By Oskar Pettersson


This paper investigates whether privatisation of welfare services increases the Swedish middle classes’ support for the welfare state. This study is situated within an adaptation of the Paradox of Redistribution, according to which privatisation may be a way of accommodating the interests of an increasingly individualistic and autonomous middle class. The support of the middle classes is thought to be crucial, as it provides the resources necessary to maintain a comprehensive welfare state. A survey experiment is used in order to examine the causal link between specific information stimuli regarding to what degree specific welfare services are provided by private actors, and survey respondents’ personal willingness to pay taxes for specific welfare services. The use of information stimuli follows from an assumption of ill-informed respondents. The willingness to pay for specific welfare services serve as a micro-level indicator of welfare state support, with a macro-level indicator serving as a complement. Key evidence is found in the micro-level case of social services, and the overall results are taken to give support for the hypothesis. The paper provides important insights into how Swedish policy makers could reason with regards to the design of welfare services, if they are interested in securing the financing, and in turn, the longevity of a comprehensive welfare state

Topics: privatisation, Swedish welfare state, welfare services, middle classes, Paradox of Redistribution, survey experiment, information stimuli, Political Science, Statsvetenskap
Publisher: Uppsala universitet, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Year: 2018
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