The purpose of the research program was to systematize and extend previous knowledge about certain aspects of the institutional transformation of the welfare state at the turn of the century in the states in the Baltic Sea region with emphasis on Germany, Poland and Sweden. By focusing on the development of market, politics and associations, we wanted to facilitate a more extensive comparison of these countries in terms of the development of their social economy, welfare pluralism and the growth of local self-government.
Six major aspects of the transformation of the welfare state were studied: social partnership and globalization, the socio-economic functions of the third sector, welfare pluralism, local networks, regional restructuring and patient empowerment. All of these aspects are represented by separate projects and reflect in one way or another the changing relationship between citizens, the market and the state in post-industrial societies around the Baltic Sea in the 21st Century. A multi-disciplinary research team at Södertörns högskola, made up of economists and political scientists, undertook this comparative research.