Projects > Ongoing projects > Local referendums  

Local referendums

Researchers: Jo Saglie, Signe Bock Segaard, Tor Bjørklund, Jan Erling Klausen, Morten Werring, Bjarte Folkestad
Schedule: January 2017-september 2017
Funding source: Kommunal- og moderniseringsdepartementet
Project No: 10192

Project Background

217 local referendums have been held in Norwegian municipalities, in order to explore public opinion on municipal amalgamation. This has led to a discussion of referendums as a democratic tool.

Questions have been raised about the practical implementation of such referendums, and whether there is a need for national guidelines.

Project Approach

The project maps and discusses various aspects of local referendums on municipal amalgamation, and the role of  referendums in municipal decision-making more generally.


The project includs seven sub-projects, in which different types of data and methods are used:

1. A research-based overview of the use of local referendums

2. Analysis of existing data on the referendums that have been held

3. Carrying out and analysing an online survey to the municipalities that have held referendums

4. Analysis of qualitative interviews from a project on the Municipal Reform

5. Analysis and discussion of the electoral system (methods of alternative voting)

6. Analysis of survey data from the Norwegian Citizen Panel

7. A discussion of issues concerning the legitimacy of referendums

The project will collaborate closely with – and utilize data from – the project Reshaping the Map of Local and Regional Self-Government. A study of the Norwegian Local Government Reform (NLGR) processes 2014-2019.