Postcode Lottery or Systematic Differences in Norwegian Elder Care Provision?
Keywords:National equality, Local autonomy, Welfare, Elder care services, Norway
The Nordic welfare states are considered to be universalistic and to provide generous benefits and services. National equality presupposes centralised schemes implemented through national agencies. In the Nordic countries, the municipalities calibrate and pro- vide care services. This article asks what are the reasons for municipal variation in elder care services provision in Norway? Building on theories of local autonomy, the expla- natory variables are the state monetary transfer system, local government, municipal demography and structure, and path dependency. The data consists of municipal registry data from Statistics Norway. The main finding of a regression analysis of data from 2014, is that the state transfer system is the principal variable explaining the current municipal variation in elder care services in Norway. The conclusion is that policies at the national level matter more than local politics and needs when explaining the current differences in service provision between municipalities. The finding enlightens the blame-shifting between higher and lower tiers of government concerning the perceived shortcomings in elder care services provision, and suggests that a revision of the monetary transfer system might be more appropriate than increased legislation if the aim is decreased municipal differences in this area.
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Copyright (c) 2018 Christine Thokle Martens
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