On-going projects

School Reform

Many significant Swedish school reforms in the last decades have been carried out in concert between the Left and the Right. This project asks how these reforms have affected schools, teachers, and pupils.

Project manager: Johan Wennström

The view of the teaching profession has been a contributing factor in the convergence of the Left and the Right in recent decades. Both political camps have been skeptical of giving teachers too much influence and often regarded teachers as an obstacle to learning and pupils’ individual liberty. This view was behind the 1992 “free school” reform, which was carried out by a center-right coalition government and consolidated by consecutive Social Democratic governments. While one of the aims of this reform was to improve pupils’ academic achievement, its design paved the way for school competition between public and private providers in other dimensions than quality of education, such as grading. This has, in turn, led to widespread grade inflation in Swedish schools. Another important change to the educational system, which was embraced by both the Left and the Right, and which this project studies, is the postmodern, social-constructive view of knowledge that became institutionalized in national curricula during the second half of the 20th century.

This project has been financially supported by the Catarina and Sven Hagströmer Foundation.



Wennström, Johan (2019). Marketized Education: How Regulatory Failure Undermined the Swedish School System. Journal of Education Policy. Link

Henrekson, Magnus and Johan Wennström (2019). ”Post-Truth” Schooling and Marketized Education: Explaining the Decline in Sweden’s School Quality. Journal of Institutional Economics, 15 (5), 897–914. Link

Wennström, Johan (2019). Interpreting Policy Convergence Between the Left and the Right: Essays on Education and Immigration. Doctoral Dissertation. Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences No. 760. Linköping: Linköping University.

Wennström, Johan (2018). ”A Plague on Both Your Houses”: How Left and Right Undermined Moral Motivation in the Swedish School System. Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift, 120 (3–4), 415–434. Link

Wennström, Johan (2016). A Left/Right Convergence on the New Public Management? The Unintended Power of Diverse Ideas. Critical Review, 29 (3–4), 380–403. Link

International cooperation

Visiting researchers

Collaborating with others is essential for IFN as a research institute. Our researchers co-author articles with colleagues from other institutes, and many also teach at various universities and colleges.

As part of our extensive program of guest researchers, leading international researchers visit the institute. The visitors present and pursue their research as well as interact and cooperate with researchers at IFN.

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