Institutt for politikk og forvaltning

Special issue of International Journal of Public Administration: Acccountability, Performance and Legitimacy in Welfare Reforms

Werner Jann and Per Lægreid are guest editors of a Special issue of International Journal of Public Administration on Acccountability, Performance and Legitimacy in Welfare Reforms.


From the introduction

For many years there has been a growing concern that welfare states are inefficient, do not achieve their objectives, are not sustainable in financial terms, and are therefore losing popular support. A series of reforms have been introduced to address these challenges, many of them following some kind of new public management (NPM)-inspired reform trajectory. This entailed granting more autonomy to welfare agencies, transferring responsibilities to public managers, or even introducing some kind of market instruments and competition with private providers. The underlying idea, albeit mostly not very clearly expressed, was to enhance accountability and at the same time performance and legitimacy of welfare arrangements. But did this really happen? What are the intended and unintended outcomes of these reforms? The papers in this special issue tackle these questions by looking into reforms in important welfare sectors, especially labor market, health, and migration, in different European countries.

The papers are the outcome of the Workshop on Administrative Organization and the Welfare State: Wicked Issues and the Challenges of Accountability, Legitimacy and Coordination at the ECPR Joint Sessions in Salamanca in April 2014. All but one of them were presented and discussed at this workshop. Most authors in this issue are furthermore part of a large comparative European project focusing on how contemporary reforms in core welfare state areas in Norway, Germany, and Denmark are affecting different accountability relationships (“Reforming the Welfare State. Democracy, Management and Accountability”). A main focus is on accountability to whom and how the trade-offs between political, administrative, managerial, legal, professional, and social accountability are changing in the areas of hospital management, welfare administration, and immigration.


This is issue has articles by Jostein Askim, Tom Christensen, Bastian Jantz, Werner Jann, Kristin Reichborn Kjennerud, Tanja Klenk, Tord Linden, Per Lægreid, Simon Neby and Karsten Vrangbæk.

Professor Per Lægreid is coauthor of three of the articles in this issue.


You will find the complete list of contents and the issue here.