I’ve (finally) had a paper accepted for publication. It’s a re-worked dissertation chapter, now entitled “Partisan Strategy and Path Dependence: The Post-War Emergence of Health Systems in the UK and Sweden“.
I argue that the UK got the statist and centralised National Health Service it did immediately after the Second World War because Bevan felt that this would prove more difficult for “the vandals opposite”, in the form of the Tories, to undo. This was important because the NHS was a significant mechanism for redistribution.
I contrast this with the the Swedish Social Democrats’ explicit rejection of an NHS model and subsequent pursuit of a more cash-centric insurance design. Such a model was both less redistributive and (potentially) more malleable for future governments. I argue that they took this course as they were able to rely on redistribution in other areas – notably centralised wage-bargaining – making health policy less politically divisive.
I need to make some minor revisions before publication, but a very recent draft is available via SSRN. The paper has been accepted at Comparative Politics.