Comparing the Coordination of Elderly Care Services in European Welfare States: How Organizational Actors Respond to Marketization Policies

Research question/goal: 

The elderly population is often in need of both healthcare and long-term care (LTC) services. Confronted with an ageing population, European welfare states are struggling with coordinating and integrating services at the interfaces of the two systems. In recent decades, marketization policies in both healthcare and LTC systems have further aggravated coordination problems. Inadequate coordination results in higher costs and lower quality. While various coordinative tools have been implemented in all countries, it is still unclear how far and why welfare states vary systematically in this respect. We expect that the way countries have responded to these challenges depends on the respective institutional settings in healthcare and LTC as well as on trajectories of marketization policies and organizational structures in the field. By systematically taking into account cross-national variations of these dimensions, we are able to provide new evidence and new explanations for cross-national differences in coping with this major challenge among European welfare states. In doing so, the project aims to 1) identify the main cross-national institutional differences in the links between healthcare and LTC systems (institutional settings), 2) analyse the impact of marketization policies on coordination problems at the interfaces between the two systems (policies & problem constellations), and 3) explore the role of organizations in providing tools for a solution of these coordination problems (organizational action). The project studies five institutionally diverse country cases in depth: Sweden, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. We mainly rely on own primary data consisting of semi-structured interviews with organizational actors in all five countries, but we will also use national and international comparative secondary data.

Current stage: 

In 2019, we developed a new typology of long-term care systems and presented it at the RC 19 conference at the University of Mannheim. The guidelines for the interviews (English and German) were developed and pretested in Mannheim, before going into the field. We met the Polish team and successfully implemented the sub-study in Poland. Our cooperation partners are Prof. Golinowska and Dr. Sofa-Kofta from the Institute for Labour Studies in Warsaw. In November 2019,  first interviews were conducted in the Netherlands. The interviews in Sweden and Switzerland are scheduled for early 2020.

Fact sheet

2015 to 2021
Data Sources: 
various international and national data sets
Geographic Space: 
Germany and other European countries