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Samhällsförändring på väg :Perspektiv på den svenska bilismens utveckling mellan 1950 och 2007

by Lindgren, Eva, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
The aim of this thesis is to give a perspective on the development of the Swedish automobility between 1950 and 2007. New knowledge on automobility’s role for economic historical development will be achieved by studying the interaction between the diffusion of the private car on the national and the regional level, and the households’ preferences and the government’s regulations of car ownership.The first paper, Two Sides of the Same Coin?, compares car diffusion in Norway and Sweden to find explanations for the national and regional patterns. We ask whether the slower diffusion in Norway can be explained with national differences in income, institutions, infrastructure and population settlements; or if regional differences in income and population density have affected the outcome? Our conclusion is that car diffusion in Norway and Sweden displays two sides of the same coin; the national levels converged, but the process did not follow the same regional pattern. Regional differences in income and population density have in general been a significant explanation for car density in Sweden, but not in Norway.  The second paper, Driving from the Centre to the Periphery?, examines whether the diffusion of private cars followed the over-all socio-economic and geographical changes in Sweden from 1960 to 1975. In particular, it studies if ownership per capita followed changes in income or changes in population density (urbanisation). The analysis is based on unique Swedish parish-scale census material that includes all private car owners for the years 1960, 1970 and 1975. Our conclusion is that income levels were more important than other explanations for the diffusion of private cars in Sweden between 1960 and 1975.The third paper, ‘En ledande och samordnande funktion’, contributes with new knowledge on how the Swedish government has organised traffic safety in certain ways since the 1950s. The emphasis is on the establishment and closing down of the National Road Safety Office (TSV) and how the changing forms of organisations before, during and after TSV have been reflected in the road plans from 1958, 1970 and 1990. Our conclusion is that the motives for both establishment and closing down of the TSV were the same; to create a more efficient organisation regarding traffic safety. These changes have been reflected in the road plans where an increased control over the infrastructure can be recognised, especially during the last two decades.The fourth paper, A Dark Side of Car Ownership, examines whether improved technical performance with respect to fuel consumption have been counterbalanced through increasing engine power and weight, how such properties are valued by the consumers, and in what way political instruments have affected this development. The analysis is based on historical data covering all car models within the 50 percentiles of new registrations. Our conclusion is that a vehicle purchase rebound effect can be identified since the fuel consumption has decreased over time, while the engine effect has increased. Also, the Swedish car fleet has developed in a setting of political instruments and regulations working in favour of larger and more fuel consuming cars.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; History and philosophy subjects; History subjects; Economic history; Automobility; Car ownership; Car diffusion; Economic history; Fuel Efficiency; Norway; Rebound effect; Sweden; Transport policy; Traffic safety; Economic History; ekonomisk historia

ISBN:978-91-7264-988-0

Date of Publication:01/01/2010

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