Public Services in the Future

The introduction of NPM and its political psychological roots

There is a broad consensus in the research on New Public Management – in which norms and practices of the market are incorporated into the governance of public services – that in political terms, NPM emerged from neo-liberal ideology and laissez faire economics. In my research I attempt to nuance this assumption, by analyzing the political ideas that paved the way for NPM into the Swedish school system.

It seems that also left-wing ideas set the stage for NPM, primarily by questioning the motives of public service workers to do their jobs. An alliance between the Left and the Right seem to have implemented NPM, from surprisingly similar positions. In my future research, I hope to find the answers to how and why such an alliance could be formed. Could the answers lie in the growing field of political psychology?


Project manager: Johan Wennström


Wennström, Johan (2016). Market reform and school competition: The lesson from Sweden. IFN Working Paper No. 1143. Link

Wennström, Johan (2015). New public management also came from the left: The case of Swedish primary and secondary education. IFN Working Paper No. 1087. Link

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