"Reshaping the Map of Local and Regional Self-Government. A study of the Norwegian Local Government Reform processes 2014?2019" is a cooperative project involving a number of Norwegian and Nordic social scientists and research institutions.
The outcome of the Local Government Reform is still (as of the project start date of February 1st 2016) uncertain, but the reform is potentially the most extensive reform of the Norwegian political and administrative system in decades, attracting much public interest.
The purpose of our project is to describe and analyse the reform as it progresses from the point of initiation in 2014, until a second main phase of municipal amalgamations is scheduled to be implemented by the end of 2019. The research group will, in other words, monitor the reform process and collect data as the process unfolds.
The Local Government Reform could be characterised as one reform, but many reforms. It is one centrally led reform, rooted in the parliament’s and government’s decisions, and supported by a wide range of means and instruments – but also manifests itself in a variety of differentiated local and regional processes, where different actors discuss the conditions for amalgamations between municipalities (and between county municipalities). The research group aims to capture the reform as it unfolds at the various levels, and the dynamic between central and local processes.
Our data will consist of surveys, interviews and various documents. A number of local case studies will be carried out. With respect to methods, comparison will be an essential tool. The local processes in different parts of the country vary, and the differences call for explanation. The processes will also be analysed in light of experiences from other European countries, historical experiences from our own country, and other domestic cross-level reforms of the public sector.