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Systemskifte : En studie av tröghet vid fyra brytpunkter inom svensk välfärdspolitik

by Borg, Per

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this dissertation is to describe, explain and understand how slowness appeared when some decisions were made in the area of welfare policy and how this slowness was eliminated. The study focuses on major changes. It is argued that such changes follow another logic than small gradual adjustments. Four breaking points have been selected for a deeper analysis: the pension policy decisions of 1913 and 1994 and the housing policy decisions of 1935 and 1992. These decisions led to the emergence of fundamentally new institutional structures concerning the relation between the central government and the citizens.The study shows that an established institutional structure within a welfare policy area generated mental constructs and decision rules that governed political decision-making. This governance resulted in slowness in the form of lengthy decision-making processes. The fundamental institutional structure was being altered only when the mental constructs were broken down. A common feature was that the decisions were first made when discontent with the prevailing order became so strong that it overwhelmed the fear of a new institutional structure. The general tendency was also to shape the fundamental changes in relation to the citizens so that the changes could be portrayed as small. The established mental constructs are the determining explanation for slowness. The interest organizations played a secondary role, as their interests are shaped in accordance with the mental constructs. Their resistance was declined at the same time when the mental constructs were broken down. The individuals – agents of change – that constantly worked for the change of system in reality appear to be significantly more interesting than hindering organization. Their influence showed a recurring pattern.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; path dependence; inertia; slowness; mental constructs; pension system; housing policy; welfare policy; institutional change; interest organizations; political entrepreneurs.

ISBN:91-22-02-097-7

Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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