Department of Government

New article from Per Lægreid, Haldor Byrkjeflot and Tom Christensen

Professor Per Lægreid has written an article on "The Many Faces of Accountability: Comparing Reforms in Welfare, Hospitals and Migration" together with Haldor Byrkjeflot and Tom Christensen. The article has been published in "Scandinavian Political Studies", Vol. 37, Issue 2.

Main content


Welfare reforms involve trade-off between different accountability types, such as political, administrative, legal and social accountability. This variety of accountability types is used to investigate consequences of reforms in three different welfare services in Norway; social services, hospital and immigration. The study finds that more complex, dynamic and layered accountability forms are emerging, but that there are some differences across reform areas. The reforms in immigration seem to change accountability relations the most in hospitals, administrative and political accountability is up against professional accountability, and we see that politicians lack overall capacity and have to rely on administrative accountability in social services. In order to analyze how reforms affect accountability relations one has to study both the formal and informal changes, as well as the relationship between politics and professionalism.


The aim of the article:

The authors examine impacts of selected administrative reforms in the welfare state on accountability. A special focus is on the impact of different organisational arrangements embedded in the reforms. Their main research questions are the following:

  • How do accountability types in public welfare services change when public sector organisations are experiencing modern reforms? What are the main dynamics, tensions and challenges?
  • How can we explain similarities and differences in accountability types among reforms in three sectors in this respect? To what degree does task area and degrees of professionalism matter?



You can read the full article here.