Henrik Jordahl is professor of economics with a specialisation in public economics. He conducts research on the welfare sector, in particular the emergence and impact of privatisation.
1971 Born in Piteå, Sweden
2002 Obtained his PhD in economics at Uppsala University with his thesis Essays on voting behavior, labor market policy and taxation
2007 Program director at Research Institute of Industrial Economics
2008 Docent in economics at Uppsala University
2012 External director of research at Centre for Business and Policy Studies
2018 Professor of economics at Örebro University
“I had just finished my PhD when I became interested in this area, and at the time, it was a rather peripheral and obscure field to research,” says Henrik Jordahl.
“Since then, privatisation in welfare has increased in scope and has given rise to intense political tensions. My research has become increasingly relevant, landing in the focus of social debate.”
In one study, he studied management practices in the welfare sector, namely governance and management at Swedish healthcare centres.
“Interviews with operational managers at healthcare centres showed management of high quality in primary care. Hardly any healthcare centres received really low scores in the applied management index.”
“This is important since healthcare centres with good management methods have shorter queues. However, they do not have more satisfied patients.”
Henrik Jordahl’s research shows that private healthcare centres have better management quality than public sector centres. There is a similar difference between private and public nursing homes.
“In health and social care, the public sector has a lot to learn from the private sector,” says Henrik Jordahl, who also studied opinions on profits in the welfare sector.
“Although there is strong support for limiting profits, many people overestimate the size of profits and believe that companies earn more than they actually do.”
Henrik Jordahl’s self-designed opinion survey shows that many change their minds after getting information about actual profit levels.
Another area of research that has continued since his thesis is economic voting – how economic transfers impact voters. Henrik Jordahl has calculated that a vote costs approximately SEK 140,000.
“Swedish parents attach great importance to how political reforms affect their family finances and vote with their wallets. Also, they react immediately to financial election promises instead of taking a wait-and-see approach on whether promised policies were in fact implemented.”
His research shows that not only political promises on better finances affect voters, but also political candidates' physical appearance.
“Good-looking politicians get more votes as it turns out, and this applies to both women and men.”
Currently, he is working on several research projects, which includes management in the welfare sector, freedom of choice and time measurement of in-home care services, and the question of whether ”the universal welfare state” of the Nordic countries creates more trust than the welfare state of non-Nordic countries.
“I hope that my research can be the basis for better political and organisational governance within the welfare sector. Using popular-science communication, I try to help politicians and voters get better access to information to base their decisions on.”