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date: 16 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter contains an analysis of Swedish administrative reform from the mid-1970s until today. It shows that Sweden has embraced most New Public Management ideas. Regarding management ideas Sweden was an early mover, whereas the neoliberal part of the NPM package took root quite late, from around 1990. In recent years Sweden has also embraced some “post-NPM” ideas. The chapter shows that the development partly can be understood as rational problem-solving. However, there are also observations supporting the argument that the development partly should be understood as rule-following and partly in terms of a path dependency. Regarding effects, critics argue that the reforms have brought about a more fragmented state, created a low-trust culture, made the pubic officials more silent, and generated paperwork which precludes the agencies from carrying out their ordinary work.

Keywords: New Public Management, decentralization, managerialization, marketization, institutional theory

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