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Local marketization under the ‘new’ political governance in Sweden, 1980-2018

Conference contribution
Authors Ylva Norén Bretzer
Bengt Persson
Thomas B. Randrup
Published in EGPA Conference. 5-7 September, Lausanne
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Public Administration
Language en
Links https://www.egpa-conference2018.org...
Keywords Sweden, local government, marketization, governance, contracting out, parks and roads
Subject categories Public Administration Studies

Abstract

The opening section of the paper will discusses how the local public sector and the local market have evolved from the 1980s up to 2018 at the municipal level, in relation to the governance developments discussed at the national level by Pierre and Sundström (2015; cf Montin 2000). Next, the discussion is narrowed to the examples of contracting out and organisational reforms in the municipal park and road sectors of the Swedish municipalities. Materials used are primary data (INOPS 2015) (Norén Bretzer et al 2016) and secondary data based on previous scientific reports and governmental studies. Results are manifold. First, the corporatization and market imitation have been increasingly common features of the local administrative level – but not to the expense of local government legitimacy. Second, in local government discussions the alternatives of management forms characterized the early period, while outcome and quality control dominated the later years. Third, for the local road sector, the level external contracting has been roughly the same throughout the period; while for the park sector we found an increase from 3 percent in 1987 to 28 percent in 2015. This can be interpreted as the park sector imitating the road sector, which had been practicing external contracting for decades. The general mimicking of the private sector that has taken place throughout the past four decades seems to have kept local governance and legitimacy in line with the expectations of the Swedes.

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