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Centre, Periphery, and Institutional Path Dependence: Transport subsidies in Sweden and Norway
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2006 (English)In: Journal of transport history, ISSN 0022-5266, Vol. 27, no 2, 80-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article shows how transport subsidies emerged in Norway and Sweden in the 1890s with the purpose of compensating peripheral regions for high transport costs. The main question is why Norway abandoned these subsidies in the late 1980s while the Swedish subsidy remains to this day. The concept of institutional path dependence is used as an analytical framework to explain developments. A distinction is also drawn between the administrative role of multiple tasks and multiple principle agencies where the former has one political goal and many different means of reaching it while the latter has one means but many political goals to meet. A hypothesis is that a multiple principle agency is more sensitive to pressure from interest groups. In the Swedish case the transport aid was administered by a multiple principle agency, since it was guided by several political goals relating to both transport and regional policy. In Norway transport aid was administered by a multiple task agency, since the agency only had political goals related to regional policy but many different instruments to reach these goals. The result of the investigation is that different geographical as well as organisational and institutional circumstances during the first period of transport subsidies in the late 1890s can explain why the subsidies were abandoned in Norway in the late 1980s but not in Sweden. Thus institutional path dependence was present in the Swedish but not in the Norwegian case.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 27, no 2, 80-96 p.
Keyword [en]
Transport policy, Twentieth century, Sweden, Norway, Path dependence
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-12514DOI: 10.7227/TJTH.27.2.8OAI: diva2:152185
Available from: 2007-04-10 Created: 2007-04-10 Last updated: 2013-04-23

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Pettersson, Thomas
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