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Two Sides of the same Coin?: Private car ownership in Sweden and Norway since 1950
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2009 (English)In: Scandinavian Economic History Review, ISSN 0358-5522, E-ISSN 1750-2837, Vol. 57, no 2, 172-190 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Norwegian private car density has lagged behind the Swedish and did not reach same national levels until the late 1980s, despite the same GDP per capita levels. Can both the time lag and the diffusion process be explained with national differences in income, institutions, infrastructure and population settlements? Or have regional differences in income and population density affected the outcome? The aim of this article is to compare car diffusion in Norway and Sweden in order to find explanations for the national and regional patterns of car diffusion. The conclusion is that car diffusion in Norway and Sweden displays two sides of same coin; the national levels converged, but the process did not follow the same regional pattern. Regional differences in income and population density have in general been a significant explanation for car density in Sweden, but not in Norway.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2009. Vol. 57, no 2, 172-190 p.
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-2925DOI: 10.1080/03585520902819584OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-2925DiVA: diva2:141282
Available from: 2008-01-30 Created: 2008-01-30 Last updated: 2010-04-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Bilism för regional utjämning?: Studier av privatbilismens geografiska och socioekonomiska spridningsmönster 1950-2000
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bilism för regional utjämning?: Studier av privatbilismens geografiska och socioekonomiska spridningsmönster 1950-2000
2008 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This licentiate thesis, with the English title Automobility towards Regional Equality? Studies of the geographical and socioeconomic diffusion of the private automobility in Sweden 1950-2000, has the overall aim to investigate the interaction between the private automobility and the Swedish socio-economical development in general. Firstly, the diffusion of private car ownership in Sweden is mapped both geographically and economically at the national level covering all citizens above the age of 18. Secondly, a comparison with the Norwegian diffusion pattern shows how automobility has interacted with two partly different national contexts. This aim will be dealt with in two articles.

Since the diffusion of private cars in Sweden has not yet been examined in a long run and national perspective covering all individuals, the first article, Driving from the Centre to the Periphery? The Diffusion of Private Cars in Sweden 1950-2000 with focus on 1960-1975, investigates how the diffusion of private cars followed the over all socio-economic and geographical changes from 1960 to 1975; did changes in car ownership per capita primarily follow changes in incomes or changes in population density (urbanisation)? Swedish traffic and regional policies in the 1960s aimed at making the car an instrument for national integration and regional equality, and make it available throughout the country. In the article the effect of that policy is tested. The analysis is based on Swedish census material that includes all car owners for the years 1960, 1970 and 1975. Our conclusion is that income levels were more important than other explanations to the diffusion of private cars in Sweden between 1960 and 1975.

Since Norwegian private car density has lagged behind the Swedish and did not reach the same national levels until the late 1980s, despite the same GDP per capita levels, the second article, Two Sides of the same Coin? Private Car Ownership in Sweden and Norway since 1950, compares car diffusion in Norway and Sweden in both historical time and model time in order to find specific explanations for the national and regional patterns of car diffusion. Can both the time lag and the diffusion process be explained with national differences in income, institutions, infrastructure, and population settlements? Or have regional differences in income and population density affected the outcome? Our conclusion is that car diffusion in Norway and Sweden displays two sides of same coin; the national levels converged, but the process did not follow the same regional pattern. Regional differences in income and population density have in general been a significant explanation for car density in Sweden but not in Norway.

Thus, the licentiate thesis shows how private car ownership in Sweden from the 1950s has interacted with increasing regional equality, especially concerning geographical diffusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för ekonomisk historia, Umeå universitet, 2008. 107 p.
Series
Occasional Papers in Economic History, ISSN 1653-7475 ; no. 14, 2008
Keyword
Automobility, Car ownership, Diffusion, Economic history, Norway, Sweden
National Category
Economic History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1517 (URN)
Presentation
(English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
På omslaget år 2007.Available from: 2008-01-30 Created: 2008-01-30 Last updated: 2011-04-13Bibliographically approved
2. Samhällsförändring på väg: Perspektiv på den svenska bilismens utveckling mellan 1950 och 2007
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Samhällsförändring på väg: Perspektiv på den svenska bilismens utveckling mellan 1950 och 2007
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Driving Forward? : Perspectives on the Swedish Automobility 1950-2007
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to give a perspective on the development of the Swedish automobility between 1950 and 2007. New knowledge on automobility’s role for economic historical development will be achieved by studying the interaction between the diffusion of the private car on the national and the regional level, and the households’ preferences and the government’s regulations of car ownership.

The first paper, Two Sides of the Same Coin?, compares car diffusion in Norway and Sweden to find explanations for the national and regional patterns. We ask whether the slower diffusion in Norway can be explained with national differences in income, institutions, infrastructure and population settlements; or if regional differences in income and population density have affected the outcome? Our conclusion is that car diffusion in Norway and Sweden displays two sides of the same coin; the national levels converged, but the process did not follow the same regional pattern. Regional differences in income and population density have in general been a significant explanation for car density in Sweden, but not in Norway.  

The second paper, Driving from the Centre to the Periphery?, examines whether the diffusion of private cars followed the over-all socio-economic and geographical changes in Sweden from 1960 to 1975. In particular, it studies if ownership per capita followed changes in income or changes in population density (urbanisation). The analysis is based on unique Swedish parish-scale census material that includes all private car owners for the years 1960, 1970 and 1975. Our conclusion is that income levels were more important than other explanations for the diffusion of private cars in Sweden between 1960 and 1975.

The third paper, ‘En ledande och samordnande funktion’, contributes with new knowledge on how the Swedish government has organised traffic safety in certain ways since the 1950s. The emphasis is on the establishment and closing down of the National Road Safety Office (TSV) and how the changing forms of organisations before, during and after TSV have been reflected in the road plans from 1958, 1970 and 1990. Our conclusion is that the motives for both establishment and closing down of the TSV were the same; to create a more efficient organisation regarding traffic safety. These changes have been reflected in the road plans where an increased control over the infrastructure can be recognised, especially during the last two decades.

The fourth paper, A Dark Side of Car Ownership, examines whether improved technical performance with respect to fuel consumption have been counterbalanced through increasing engine power and weight, how such properties are valued by the consumers, and in what way political instruments have affected this development. The analysis is based on historical data covering all car models within the 50 percentiles of new registrations. Our conclusion is that a vehicle purchase rebound effect can be identified since the fuel consumption has decreased over time, while the engine effect has increased. Also, the Swedish car fleet has developed in a setting of political instruments and regulations working in favour of larger and more fuel consuming cars.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för ekonomisk historia, Umeå universitet, 2010. 58 + 4 paper p.
Series
Umeå studies in economic history, ISSN 0347-254X ; 40
Keyword
Automobility, Car ownership, Car diffusion, Economic history, Fuel Efficiency, Norway, Rebound effect, Sweden, Transport policy, Traffic safety
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33469 (URN)978-91-7264-988-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-21, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal B, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-04-29 Created: 2010-04-26 Last updated: 2010-04-29Bibliographically approved

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