Histories and Futures of Marketization

Morten Balle Hansen*, Andrej Christian Lindholst, Carsten Greve

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter presents a review of the book’s main findings on marketization and a discussion of its future in the delivery of public services. Marketization was part of the New Public Management (NPM) and one of the most important elements of public management reforms in recent decades. The evolution and contemporary practice of marketization from the early 1980s to the late 2010s was analyzed for local park and road services in England and three Scandinavian countries. We summarize main findings as they relate to the ideal-typical distinction between pre-, core- and post-NPM practices. Contracting out has been the predominant model of marketization but has changed substantially with important variations in how it is practiced. While privatization through increased use of private contractors has increased, in-house provision has been remarkably resilient in all four countries. Significant differences in marketization between the two services were found indicating the importance of task characteristics and policy area to the scope and content of marketization. While England was the front-runner of core-NPM in the early decades many English municipalities have moved on post-NPM practices in the late 2010s. Contemporary core-NPM practices with a mixed delivery system of competition between public and private providers was found to most predominant in Denmark. Pre-NPM practices were strongest in Norway, while Sweden represents the most within country variation with both pre-, core- and post-NPM practices in use. We discuss the interpretation of our findings through the theoretical lenses of institutional theory, pragmatic learning and different state models.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarketization in Local Government : Diffusion and Evolution in Scandinavia and England
EditorsAndrej Christian Lindholst, Morten Balle Hansen
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9783030324773
ISBN (Electronic)9783030324780
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 21 December 2019

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