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CASE REPORT
Retrenchment in Sweden
 
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Instut Polityki Społecznej Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2020-06-05
 
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2004;7:33–52
 
ABSTRACT
There are raising voices about the crisis of the Swedish welfare state. The aim of this article is to present changes of Swedish social policy in the 1990s in order to check whether the statements about the crisis are correct. For this purpose, Paul Pierson’s perspective of retrenchment is used. Pierson distinguishes between two kinds of retrenchment: programmatic (change of programmes towards Titmuss’ residual model of social policy) and systemic (changes of institutions which allow for those changes in a future). Four elements of the Swedish social security system are analysed: two representing cash benefits (pensions, unemployment benefits), two others - services: health care and care for elderly. The latter were chosen because services are believed to be more vulnerable for retrenchm ent., All sectors faced both forms of the retrenchment, however to the different extent. The main trends in Swedish social policy of past decade are: privatisation and decentralisation. Additionally, the article confirms the statement concerning services sector’s vulnerability. One would say, that Swedish welfare state in the 1990s was transforming towards residual model. However, this process was very slow and was evident only from the Scandinavian perspective: from the comparative one, it seems that Swedish social policy hasn’t lost its main features. Thus, the statement about the crisis of the Swedish welfare state isn’t true, it is rather the shift from the ‘Gold’ to the ‘Silver Era’.
ISSN:1640-1808