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The role of municipalities in the bottom-up formation of a meta-region in Sweden: drivers and barriers

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Jörgen Johansson
Lars Niklasson
Bo Persson
Publicerad i Offentlig förvaltning. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration
Volym 19
Nummer/häfte 4
Sidor 71-88
ISSN 2000-8058
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid
Sidor 71-88
Språk en
Ämnesord Regional reform, Bottom-up strategy, Regional Governance, Local Government, Municipal Cooperation
Ämneskategorier Studier av offentlig förvaltning


The sub-national level in the Nordic countries is currently undergoing a process of major transformation. A central issue concerns the role of municipalities in regionalization processes. The purpose of the article is to analyse the positions and strategies of municipalities regarding interlocal cooperation and regional governance, in relation to a failed attempt to create a new large region in southern Sweden during 2013-2014. This attempt was based on a reform strategy, initiated by the government, which gave the main role in the creation of larger regions to municipalities and regional actors in a bottom-up process. How can we understand the roles of municipalities, and what are the drivers and barriers in a bottom-up strategy of regional formation? Our study shows that the views expressed by municipal representatives in Sweden regarding regional governance are anchored in the strong institutional position of municipalities in that country. Our conclusion is that a bottom-up strategy has several shortcomings as a method for making institutional reforms in a system of regional governance. There are obvious drivers in such a process, but there are also difficulties in achieving cooperation that result from high transaction costs (which lead to a collective-action dilemma), from an uncertain national policy, and from problems of legitimacy

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