Public Administration and Economic Valuation Practices

My research centers around economic valuation practices in the public sector. By such practices I refer to, for example, the use of economic policy instruments, contracting out, and procurement of vital goods and services. 

Such practices permeate many of the core activities in the public sector. Citizens, business, and civil society are increasingly affected by the consequences of these economic valuation practices. This concern, for example, the exercise of public authority, the provision of public goods, rules of conduct in procurement, and production of welfare services.

With this focus, I pursue empirical, qualitative case studies of such economic valuation practices. I strive to provide both detailed empirical insight and theoretically ingrained concepts to think about and intervene in governance practice in a nuanced fashion. This raises the discussion of economic valuation practices above technical detail, while keeping track of how these practices actually shape the values of the welfare state. How do we want to shape the relation between economic valuation practices and governance of the welfare state? With my research, I take this question to be critical; in order to push towards improvement, it is necessary to work with concepts attuned to the actual practices of the real world, instead of repeating ready-made ideas of what economic valuation practices are and what they can and cannot do in the public sector.

My dissertation, defended in 2015 at the Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change, looked into how important values were handled in the construction of a care choice reform for primary care. In particular, I paid attention to how purchaser officials worked with a significant governance tool, the so-called rule book for care centers. The rule book figured as a prominent device in care choice reform, and provided a way into studying how values were enacted in the reform process.

The dissertation claimed that the detailed practices whereby purchaser officials handled the values via the rule book was a form of ‘politics by other means’. Such practices gave values specific meanings and significance. One value in particular came to dominate the reform process: that of competitive neutrality. Although competitive neutrality was supposed to be a means through which other values, such as quality and availability of public service, were realized, it was translated into an end in its own right. As a consequence, other values and perceptions about good care became demoted in what counts as valuable in care choice reform.

Currently, I’m involved in two studies at Stockholm School of Economics. One is a study on the valuation and price setting of in-patient pharmaceuticals, and the other concerns the consequences of value-based assessments on innovation in governance of medical device markets.

I teach Political Science in the following courses: The Swedish Political System (733G16), Swedish Politics (733G45), Methods of Political Science 1 (733G22), Term Paper in Political Science, basic level (733G27), and Bachelor Thesis in Political Science (733G35). 

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