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Ylva Norén Bretzer

Senior Lecturer

School of Public
+46 31-786 44 80
Visiting address
Sprängkullsgatan 19
41123 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 712
40530 Göteborg

About Ylva Norén Bretzer

Present research, 2021-2022

During year 2021 I am finalising a base-line analysis about the city borough Lövgärdet in Gothenburg, commissioned by Poseidon. Thereafter I will analyse a citizen survey in Gamlestaden, the sixth since 2002, commissioned by Gothenburg City Northeast.

I was also been awarded a scholarship from KVA/Thuréus research foundation in 2020. The scholarship will fund the project SafeCity (TryggStad), in which I will analyze the strategies of different types of estate owners in peri-urban areas, Gothenburg. The project will be reported in 2022.

Selected research, 2004 - 2020

My interest in public administration concerns the full policy cycle, from political decisions to actual policy implementation. The title of my dissertation was (in translation from Swedish) Political trust: the role of social capital and fair procedures (2005). After the dissertation three themes has become the focus of my interests, both multi- and transdisciplinary ways. Not seldom do I also work with mixed methods;

  • Local governments and urban development
  • Evaluation research
  • Agency trust (vertical), and social trust (horizontal)

Local governments and urban development
A central area of my present research is peri-urban areas, and municipal research at large. Issues such as social trust, safety and institutional structures are important in these studies, as preconditions for long-term sustainability. Examples of projects are:

The ClueE-project (FORMAS and the Energy Agency, 2010-2013): ClueE was a multidisciplinary project, including researchers and stakeholders. It was focused around the social barriers or conveners for increased energy efficiency in million program dwellings. I was the p. i. of the project and other participants were Carolina Hiller, Eva-Lotta Kurkinen, Davd Langlet, Joshua Prentice, Anders Sandoff och Marie Thynell.
The project resulted in the book Urban välfärd, effektiv energi (2016) (in Swedish).

I was one of the participants in the INOPS project (innovations in public-private collaboration, 2014-2020), led by Andrej Christian Lindholst, Aalborg University, Denmark, as p. i. Other participants represented Norway and England. Link to final book Marketization in Local Government [ ]
Link to summary chapter in the book The Future of Local Government in Europe

The INOPS group also participated with the thematic issue Marketization Revisited in the International Journal of Public Sector Management (2016), where I participated with the article ”Is public procurement efficiency conditioned by market types? A critical test in park and road sectors in Sweden”, co-authored with Bengt Persson and Thomas Barfoed Randrup.

Evaluation research
Within the field evaluation research have I conducted commissions for the Swedish Ministry for Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish National Agency for Education, The City of Göteborg, and for the municipalities of Vänersborg and Mellerud. I am also the vice chair of the Swedish Evaluation Society, SVUF ( Examples of evaluations where I have been the principal responsible are (all in Swedish):

Ordning och samordning: En utvärdering av ordningsvakter i Gamlestaden (Brottsförebyggande rådet, BRÅ, 2018-2020).

Commissioned by Vänersborg/Mellerud, an evaluation of their collaborative institution was conducted in 2016. It resulted in the report Samordnad samverkan, co-authored with Kerstin Bartholdsson.

Lokal översättning av de nationella miljömålen (2006) was commissioned by the National Environmental Protection Agency, on the theme local translation of the national environmental targets. Project participants were Kerstin Bartholdsson and Björn Forsberg.

I also conducted an evaluation of Safer and more Humane Gothenburg [Tryggare och mänskligare Göteborg], commissioned by the City of Gothenburg (2004).

Agency trust and social trust
In my dissertation (2005) I investigated political trust on national level and in municipalities in West Sweden. Two theories were put up to a test, first Robert D. Putnam’s theory on social capital (2003), and second Tom Tyler’s theory on just institutions (2002). From the results, I found that the emphasis on organization membership and activities were overestimated, probably as the ‘winners of society’ tend to be more active in these. Rather, Tyler’s theory proved to be more important as citizen tended to trust the political institutions more when they were convinced that judicial institutions were not corrupt but spoke for the general public in equal terms. Link to my dissertation.

In the multi-disciplinary project Trust in the Swedish Social Security Agency 1999 – 2010 (Förtroende för Försäkringskassan 1999 – 2010 in original), where I was the p. i.. We analyzed the legal regulations the agency applied and how they had changed, the decline in citizen trust throughout the period and the media expressions of the agency. Further, the project conducted focus groups with clients, which indicated explanations to the trust decline. Project period: 2013 – 2014. Participants: Kristina Holmgren, Helena Rohdén, Gabriella Sandstig and Sara Stendahl.

A spin-off from the project above was the multidisciplinary issue on Social Trust (Tillit in original) in Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift, SMT (2018). I was the exitor together with professor Kristina Holmgren, and the issue resulted in ten original articles. Link to the issue.

(see my Publication list for full details)


Every term I teach at the following courses:

  • Evaluation and implementation (master level) 15hp
  • Leadership within public organisations (master level) 15 hp
  • Policy analysis (T6, undergraduate level) 15hp

Earlier I have been course responsible for Sustainable development in cities and regions (T3 undergraduate level) 7,5 hp and Theory of Science and Methods (T5 undergraduate level) 7,5 hp. I have also been the tutor of more than 70 student theses, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss an interesting topic.

I have also authored an introduction to how the Swedish political system works, inspired by institutional theory and multilevel governance. The book is found at Studentlitteratur (link).