The research group for studies in democracy, power and citizenship (DEM)

The values of local government and the problem of municipal amalgamations

The future of local government is currently high on the political agenda in Sweden as well as in other European countries. Amalgamation reforms designed to obtain an optimal local government structure is one of the main issues found in the debate. Another important issue concerns the strength of the constitutional protection of local self-government. It is our contention that these debates are cast too narrowly and their focus is often on functional efficiency alone.

What we intend to do in this project, is to bring to the fore and assess a number of alternative ways of valuing local government which go beyond the narrow focus of functional efficiency. We argue that these alternatives, together with efficiency considerations, ought to be taken into account in a discussion about the future role of local government. We will explore then, what other kinds of values local government can fulfil, such as e.g. democracy, self-determination, equality, and wider notions of efficiency. The upshot will be a normative general theory on local government. From this general theory we will assess different reform proposals concerning the local level which has been put forward in Sweden and elsewhere.






Project manager at MDU

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Goal of the project:

The primary purpose of the project is theory development concearning contructing a normative theory of local government. The primary goal for the project is to develop and apply a normative theory of local government. Activities included in the project is theoretical studies, like examples of amalgamations collected through historical studies as well as through studying current cases.

This research relates to the following sustainable development goals