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Patterns of Local Public Administration Reform

Conference paper
Authors Anders Sundell
Mikael Gilljam
Victor Lapuente
Published in Presenterat på Annual Meeting of The American Political Science Association 2009, Toronto.
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Subject categories Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


Local governments are no longer restricted to in-house production of public services. Contracting out and intermunicipal cooperation have proven to be two viable alternatives, and have gained widespread recognition in practice as well as in scholarly literature. In this paper, we first analyze how local politicians perceive the effects of the reforms. Thereafter, we investigate the determinants of contracting and intermunicipal cooperation among all local governments in Sweden. Politicians tend to perceive both reforms as having beneficial effects; however, further analysis shows that intermunicipal cooperation may impair accountability. When it comes to determinants of actual implementation of the two reforms, we find that factors established in earlier research matter. We also present a hitherto understudied causal mechanism for administrative reform – political uncertainty and resulting policy insulation.

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