Decentralisation and reconfiguration of multilevel research policy: The case of Sweden

Bo Persson, Fumi Kitagawa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

In many countries, historically, research policy has primarily been the business of the state and has not been captured clearly within the scope of the local government. Nevertheless, over the last several decades, through the decentralization processes of research policy in different national contexts, local and regional governments have become growingly influential in shaping agendas in this policy area. There are still relatively few empirical analyses of decentralization processes of research policy over time, and a better conceptualization of how research policies are (re)configured in subnational and multilevel settings is needed. This chapter focuses on a case of Sweden and examines decentralisation and reconfiguration of research policy over the last three decades, in terms of both power and resources. This study firstly depicts specific aspects of decentralisation processes in the Swedish research policy, and how the roles of local governments have changed in this process. The analysis shows that while central government is still dominating research policy in Sweden, the role of local governments has become more important particularly during the last twenty years. Overall, decentralisation of research policy can partly be seen as a bi-effect of decentralization of welfare, higher education and regional development policies. It is argued that the role of local governments in the multi-level governance structure in Sweden is primarily to function as complementary partners to the central state, rather than as independent policy-makers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future of Local Self-Government
Subtitle of host publicationEuropean Trends in Autonomy, Innovations and Central-Local Relations
EditorsTomas Bergström, Jochen Franzke, Sabine Kuhlmann, Ellen Wayenberg
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030560584
ISBN (Print)9783030560591
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2021

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Sub-National Governance
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2523-8248

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • research policy
  • decentralisation
  • multilevel governance
  • local government
  • Sweden


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