Developments of Social Care Services in Europe: A Cross-national Comparison of Healthcare to Long-term Care and Disability-related Services

Research question/goal: 

Social care services have developed differently in European welfare states both in institutional and quantitative terms. This project investigates in a cross-national and longitudinal perspective which institutional factors have fostered (or hampered) the growth of social care services and how the differences between countries and fields can be explained. The project compares long-term care and disability-related social services to healthcare, because the developments in the three fields are partly interdependent. The three fields are similar in functional terms, but developments and institutional boundaries between them vary cross-nationally. The project asks in particular whether these differences are due to variations in market-formation processes (including public regulation and financing), provider structures (public, non-profit or for-profit agencies) and professionalization forms and levels. The analytical focus is on the interdependencies over time between the three fields in these three dimensions. This perspective complements existing research that focuses mainly on individual social care service fields, on cross-sectional comparison and on demand-side factors for growth.

The project studies two main questions:

1. Which institutional factors have fostered (or hampered) the development of social care services in Europe?

2. What has been the impact of different processes of market-formation, different provider structures and forms and levels of professionalization on these developments?

Current stage: 

A revised project proposal was drafted and submitted to the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 2016. The decision is still pending. In the meantime, we collected quantitative and qualitative data for the planned creation of a new typology of long-term care systems in Europe. Furthermore, we established co-operation with a Polish project partner.

Fact sheet

2015 to 2018
in preparation
Data Sources: 
various international and national data sets
Geographic Space: 
Germany and other European countries