Konkurrenceudsættelse af velfærd: En undersøgelse af kvalitetsforskelle på daginstitutionsområdet

Joakim Stellfeld Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is concerned with differences in quality between public and private childcare centers in Denmark. There is not only a general lack of knowledge in the existing literature of how ownership and competition affects the quality of caregiving, but that lack of knowledge is especially prevalent in Denmark. The thesis therefore seeks to fill this gap of knowledge through a comparative case study of three daycare centers, in two municipalities, with different ownership statuses. The empirical data is based on nine qualitative interviews and a number of documents that were analyzed through deductive reasoning, where the theory of quasi-markets and literature on quality in childcare served as a conceptual framework.
The conditions for establishing and running a daycare center in Denmark depends, to some extent, on the form of ownership. Private (for-profit) and public daycare centers can freely set up their businesses, though private (for-profit) centers may be required to provide a financial deposit to the municipality and must adhere to the municipality’s criteria for approval. Private (non-profit) daycare centers must enter a contractual agreement with the local municipality in order to be approved. There are also differences in terms of how children are allocated to the daycare centers, levels of parental influence, and the extent of inspection from the municipality. In general, private (for-profit) daycare centers have more opportunities in these matters compared to private (non-profit) and public daycare centers. Financial conditions are, to a large extent, the same, however, private (for-profit) daycare centers are able to decide the price of the service themselves, as well as being free to decide how to spend their profits.
Despite the differences mentioned above, the empirical analysis shows no major disparities, in terms of quality, between private (both for-profit and non-profit) and public daycare centers. In the cases examined, the largest difference found between a private and a public day care center was identified in one instance relating to structural quality, where the private (for-profit) daycare center had more opportunities in terms of recruitment, education, staff turnover, and investment in the physical environment. Minor differences in quality, relating to process quality, were also identified in favor of the private (for-profit) daycare center. The limited difference in quality may be due to the fact that the daycare market is still highly regulated. In essence, quality is defined in a number of ways and is not merely a product of supply and demand.

EducationsAdministration, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date30 Mar 2018
Number of pages80
SupervisorsOle Helby Petersen