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"Såsom allmänna inrättningar till gagnet, men affärsföretag till namnet": SJ, järnvägspolitiken och den ekonomiska omvandlingen efter 1920
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
1993 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
"As public service by usage, but business enterprise by name" : the State Railway, the railway policy and economic change since 1920 (English)
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the extent and nature of the interaction between the political, institutional andeconomical development in the Swedish railway sector 1920-1980. The work deals with two main issuse,which may be summarized in the following question: has the Swedish railway policy contributed to orcounterbalanced the stagnation of the railways, especially in the post-war period? The basic premise has beenthat the institutional framework from the 19th century, was well adjusted to the requirements in thecontemporary industrialization process. The adaption of the regulations, obligations and economic principlesfrom the inter-war years and henceforth was more problematic. A growing discrepancy between economicconditions and policy goals emerged. Ulis affected the function of the Sate Railways (SJ).The interesting issue is to explain the process of renewal and abandonment of the original institutionalarrangements. There are two distinctive driving forces in this process. Firstly the demand for transport in theeconomy of the society changed. This interacted with the expansion of motorvehicles. Motor vehicles, and lateron civil aviation, have taken over parts of traditional railway transports. Of greater significance though, is thefact that railways have not been able to compete with motorvehicles on a number of growing markets in theeconomy of society. This has been of major importance to the diminishing economic returns and the decliningcompany profitability in the railway sector. The second driving force is to be found in the institutional setting inthe railway sector. The institutional principles and the railway policy gave social and economic responsibilitypriority over business profitability as the managerial strategy for SJ. SJ was used to fulfil regional and generaleconomic policy goals. As a consequence the unprofitable private railways were nationalized to save theregional transport system. To succeed on the competitive transport market in the post-war period it becamenecessary for SJ to act as a profit-seeking company. This created a long period of political struggle inParliament concerning the institutional principles. In order to keep the social economic principles, the monetaryclaims were reduced. Subsidies were given to try to save SJ s profitability as a business company. The mixtureof social and monetary principles from 1960 and onwards, could neither solve the railway's market problems,nor could they keep the regional railway system intact. This failure led to the abandonment of the originalinstitutional framework. In the late 1980 s it was totally replaced. Hie guiding rules for the State Railways arenow concentrated on competition and company profitability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1993. , 237 p.
Umeå studies in economic history, ISSN 0347-254X ; 17
Keyword [en]
State Railways, Railway policy, competition, changes on the transport market, nationalization of railways, closing down, institutional theory, institutional framework
Keyword [sv]
Statens järnvägar
National Category
Economic History Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-68315OAI: diva2:616369
Public defence
1993-03-26, Humanisthuset hörsal G, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Available from: 2013-04-16 Created: 2013-04-16 Last updated: 2013-04-16Bibliographically approved

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