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Working Paper. No 306: Municipally owned enterprises as danger zones for corruption? How politician’s having feet in two camps may undermine conditions for accountability

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Anders Gustafsson, Andreas Bergh, Bolagsstyrning, Emanuel Wittberg, Företagandets villkor, Gissur Ó. Erlingsson, IFN, Jönköping International Business School, Kommun, Linköpings universitet, Nationalekonomi, Politisk ekonomi, Statsvetenskap
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Abstract

Market-inspired reforms have been particularly pronounced in Swedish local government. Noteably, municipally owned enterprises (MOEs) have rapidly grown in numbers. Principal-agent theory leads us to suspect that the massive introduction of MOEs may have worsened conditions for accountability. To study this, we have employed social network analysis, mapping networks for 223 MOEs in 11 strategically chosen municipalities, covering a total of 723 politicians. The analysis shows substantial overlaps between principals (representatives of the owners) and agents (the boards of the MOEs), quantified using network modularity. Corporatization of public services therefore implies worrisome entanglings between the politicians who are set to steer, govern and oversee MOEs on the one hand, and the board members of MOEs on the other. The increasing numbers of MOEs, we argue, may hence have adverse effects on accountability in important and growing parts of the local economies.

Bergh, A., Erlingsson, G., Gustafsson, A. & Wittberg, E. (2018). Municipally owned enterprises as danger zones for corruption? How politician’s having feet in two camps may undermine conditions for accountability. Ratio Working Paper No 306. Stockholm:Ratio.

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Working Paper. No 306: Municipally owned enterprises as danger zones for corruption? How politician’s having feet in two camps may undermine conditions for accountability
Working paperPublication
Abstract: Market-inspired reforms have been particularly pronounced in Swedish local government. Noteably, municipally owned enterprises
Publication year

2018

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

Market-inspired reforms have been particularly pronounced in Swedish local government. Noteably, municipally owned enterprises (MOEs) have rapidly grown in numbers. Principal-agent theory leads us to suspect that the massive introduction of MOEs may have worsened conditions for accountability. To study this, we have employed social network analysis, mapping networks for 223 MOEs in 11 strategically chosen municipalities, covering a total of 723 politicians. The analysis shows substantial overlaps between principals (representatives of the owners) and agents (the boards of the MOEs), quantified using network modularity. Corporatization of public services therefore implies worrisome entanglings between the politicians who are set to steer, govern and oversee MOEs on the one hand, and the board members of MOEs on the other. The increasing numbers of MOEs, we argue, may hence have adverse effects on accountability in important and growing parts of the local economies.

Working Paper. No 306: Municipally owned enterprises as danger zones for corruption? How politician’s having feet in two camps may undermine conditions for accountability
Working paperPublication
Abstract: Market-inspired reforms have been particularly pronounced in Swedish local government. Noteably, municipally owned enterprises
Publication year

2018

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

Market-inspired reforms have been particularly pronounced in Swedish local government. Noteably, municipally owned enterprises (MOEs) have rapidly grown in numbers. Principal-agent theory leads us to suspect that the massive introduction of MOEs may have worsened conditions for accountability. To study this, we have employed social network analysis, mapping networks for 223 MOEs in 11 strategically chosen municipalities, covering a total of 723 politicians. The analysis shows substantial overlaps between principals (representatives of the owners) and agents (the boards of the MOEs), quantified using network modularity. Corporatization of public services therefore implies worrisome entanglings between the politicians who are set to steer, govern and oversee MOEs on the one hand, and the board members of MOEs on the other. The increasing numbers of MOEs, we argue, may hence have adverse effects on accountability in important and growing parts of the local economies.

Ratio Working Paper No. 349: Industrial conflict in essential services in a new era – Swedish rules in a comparative perspective
Working paperPublication
Karlson, N.
Publication year

2021

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

This paper examines whether the Swedish regulatory system of dealing with industrial conflicts that affect essential services need an update or reform. Are the existing rules effective in a world where many essential services are upheld by many interdependent agents in complex systems where every single node becomes critical for the functioning of the system, and where the essential service activities could be either private or public? A comparative study is conducted with the corresponding regulatory systems of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark.
The conclusion is that Sweden is a special case. The Swedish protection against and readiness in dealing with societally harmful industrial conflicts in essential services is weaker than in the countries of comparison. Just as in relation to other threats to essential services, it is not sustainable to claim that just because such a threat is not currently present, there would be no need for preparedness.
There are many alternative ways to handle this. Desirable methods should both prevent harmful conflicts from erupting and end conflicts that have grown harmful to society at a later stage. The labour market organisations should have a mutual interest in reforming the rules.

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