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Comparing local politicians’ and bureaucrats’ assessments of democratic participation: The cases of Norway and Sweden

Journal article
Authors Jon Pierre
Asbjörn Röiseland
B. Guy Peters
Annelin Gustavsen
Published in International Review of Administrative Sciences
Volume 83
Issue 4
Pages 658-675
ISSN 0020-8523
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 658-675
Language en
Keywords administration and democracy, citizen participation, contracting out, implementation, public management
Subject categories Political Science


Given the increasing emphasis on delivery and output as a source of legitimacy for local government, how do politicians and civil servants perceive conventional, input-based channels for citizens’ influence on government in relationship to performance and output-oriented opportunities to influence public service? This article compares the attitudes of senior local politicians and civil servants in Norwegian and Swedish local authorities on these issues. The analysis draws on a data set collected among political and administrative leaders in Norwegian and Swedish local authorities. We also com- pare a service sector where public management reform has been extensive (care of the elderly) with a service sector where regulation and law enforcement dominates (plan- ning and construction). The analysis suggests that there is a significant similarity between politicians’ and bureaucrats’ attitudes, although politicians accord greater importance to input-based channels of influence and to throughput than do bureaucrats.

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