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Is Bureaucratic Policy-Making Eroding Institutions?: A Bottom-up Perspective on the Swedish Governmental Commissions
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Forskarskolan offentlig verksamhet i utveckling (FOVU))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0627-1245
(English)In: International Journal of Public Administration, ISSN 0190-0692, E-ISSN 1532-4265Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

This article analyzes the recurrent “erosion thesis” in the governance literature  arguing  that  bureaucratic  or  procedural government institutions have come to play a less significant role in the formation of  public  policy.  This  article  supports  these  claims  by  drawing evidence  from  the  Swedish  and  neo-corporatist  policy-making institutions  referred  to  as  the ‘governmental  commissions’  and  the perspective  of  interest  organizations.  Using  various  theories  on institutional change I show that increasing government steering has reduced  the  role  of  the  governmental  commissions  in  influencing policy, but has not eliminated interest organizations’ belief that they are  legitimate  institutions.  The  resulting  article concludes  that although the governmental commissions have eroded, the capability of the state to steer or govern society has not necessarily declined.

National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-38225OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-38225DiVA: diva2:759111
Available from: 2014-10-29 Created: 2014-10-29 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A pluralist state?: civil society organizations’ access to the Swedish policy process 1964-2009
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A pluralist state?: civil society organizations’ access to the Swedish policy process 1964-2009
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Including civil society organizations in the policy process is a distinctive trait of democratic governance. But, while being highly valuable from a democratic point of view, not all civil society organizations are represented in the policy process. This dissertation draws attention to the role of the government in shaping the representation of civil society organizations in the Swedish government consultation referred to as the ‘remiss procedure’. The overall aim is to increase empirical and theoretical understanding of civil society organizations’ access to the national Swedish policy process. Drawing on various empirical data sources, it analyzes how access has changed during the second half of the 20th century, the factors influencing access, and the significance of the access provided by the government.

The results are based on four empirical studies, and show that the government has encouraged an increasing number and more diverse types of civil society organizations to be represented in the remiss procedure. In addition, organizations with plenty of resources, such as labor and business organizations, are not overrepresented. However, access is slightly skewed in favor of civil society organizations with an insider position within other access points at national government level, which is consistent with a privileged pluralistic pattern of interest representation. In addition, civil society organizations seem to be invited into an arena for political influence of less relevance. Theoretically, the dissertation moves beyond the neo-corporatist perspective that dominated Swedish research during the second half of the 20th century by drawing attention to five different theoretical lenses: pluralism, neo-corporatism, political opportunity structures, policy network theory, and resource exchange theory. It concludes that a variety of theories are needed for access to be understood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2014. 90 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 38
Keyword
access, interest representation, civil society, neo-corporatism, pluralism, political opportunity structures, policy network, resource exchange, consultations, governmental commissions, remiss procedure, Sweden
National Category
Globalization Studies
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-38042 (URN)978-91-7529-046-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-11-07, Hörsal P2, Prismahuset, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-10-24 Created: 2014-10-24 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Lundberg, Erik

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