Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2010:1: Private financing of elder care in Sweden. Arguments for and against

Gabrielle Meagher () and Marta Szebehely ()
Additional contact information
Gabrielle Meagher: University of Sydney. Faculty of Education and Social Work, Postal: Education Building A 35, University of Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
Marta Szebehely: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The idea that there is a need to increase the share of private financing of the costs of elder care is expressed by several actors attempting to influence the direction of social policy Sweden these days. This idea fundamentally challenges established ways of financing and organising delivery of elder care services in Sweden. Underlying proposals for increasing private financing is the claim that the future scope of public elder care provision must contract, both vertically and horizontally. Underlying this claim is the assumption that both the quantity and quality of services demanded will increase, while the supply of public funds cannot. Vertical contraction aims to draw new funds from users willing to pay more to get higher quality services. Horizontal contraction aims to reduce the scope of public sector’s responsibility in service provision. This paper outlines recent developments in private provision of elder care services and examines arguments and actors for increasing private financing. Although the proposals have been put forward by influential actors, opposition to increasing private financing has been expressed, and support for solidaristic funding of elder care remains strong. Accordingly, we also consider these dissenting arguments and actors. Our purpose is to set out and evaluate the arguments, evidence and interests behind the proposals, and the likely outcomes of their implementation.

Keywords: Elder care; Private financing; Social policy; Sweden

JEL-codes: J14

33 pages, March 4, 2010

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN: 1652-120X ISBN: 978-91-85619-61-0

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