Forming a regional policy in Sweden: Where will the contradictory policies lead?

Academic Public Administration Studies

Forming a regional policy in Sweden: Where will the contradictory policies lead?

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Title: Forming a regional policy in Sweden: Where will the contradictory policies lead?
Author: Niklasson, Lars; Tallberg, Pontus
Abstract: The future role of the regions is a contested issue in Sweden, in spite of more than a decade of experiments and innovative solutions. Images of a regionalized future are formed and visions are competing behind the scenes. A national commission suggested a regional model for all of Sweden and further devolution of policy to the new regions. However, the government made few changes to the present situation and has postponed many issues until after the upcoming election in September. But the issue of designing regions in Sweden is not just a political question for the parties. It is also an area where actors form strategies and external events have an impact. Various problems and solutions are floating around in something resembling a garbage can. We can see several interrelated issues being discussed, such as how bigger regions can be formed, how national agencies can relate to new regions and to what extent local governments should work out new roles within larger regions. Demography and other challenges put pressures on all levels to rethink roles and responsibilities. Hence, the future development of the regions in Sweden is at a stage where the issue is being framed and coalitions are formed, partly through debate and partly through the rivalry of the various perspectives. It is a situation which can be described through theoretical lenses such as the three “institutionalisms”. Sociological institutionalism focuses on the creation of meaning, how joint understandings are formed. Historical institutionalism highlights the importance of paths, how previous choices restrict the current situation. Rational choice institutionalism can add an understanding of the setting where issues are made. These perspectives help us understand what will be important when regional and national actor finally make up their minds.
URI: http://www.apas.admpubl.snspa.ro/handle/2010/258
Date: 2010-09-10


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