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Welfare and digitalization

Hans-Tore Hansen, Liv Syltevik (UiB) and Kjetil Lundberg (UNI Rokkan) have published an article titled "Digitalization, Street-Level Bureaucracy and Welfare Users' Experiences" in Journal of Social Policy & Administration

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Internet/web-based forms of communication have increasingly been implemented by welfare agencies. However, there have been few studies of the experiences of welfare service users and the consequences of new technology for welfare service users. To what extent is the new technology adopted by the Norwegian Welfare and Labour Organization (NAV) used, and how do the users apply and experience the new possibilities? Do screen-to-screen encounters replace face-to-face encounters, and is this trend affected by age, gender, education or type of benefit?

To answer these questions, we combine survey data, short-term fieldwork in welfare reception areas and qualitative interviews with people receiving health and work-related benefits. Our study indicates that screen-to-screen interaction in general does not replace face-to-face encounters, as many face-to-face encounters are related to screen communication. However, digital competence combined with life circumstances appears to be the source of a new divide between welfare service users.

 

  • Read the article here (subrctiption)