This article builds on recent research on the fortunes of universalism in European social policy by tracing the development of eldercare policy in four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Six dimensions of universalism are used to assess whether and how eldercare has been universalized or de-universalized in each country in recent decades and the consequences of the trends thereby identified. We find that de-universalization has occurred in all four countries, but more so in Finland and Sweden than in Denmark and Norway. Available data show an increase in for-profit provision of publicly funded care services (via policies promoting service marketization), and an increase of family care (re-familialization), as well as of services paid out-of-pocket (privatization). These changes have occurred without an explicit attack on universalism or retrenchment of formal rights. Nevertheless, the changes threaten the class- and gender-equalizing potential of Nordic welfare states.
- Nordic countries