Population Changes in Swedish Municipalities. What are the Reported Economic Impacts on Fee Financed Local Technical Services?

Jonas Fjertorp


Swedish local governments are responsible for providing public services to their residents. Population changes require varying considerations and responses. Population growth demands the extension of the local government service capacity, for example to provide technical services. Even a declining population is demanding because of the difficulties adjusting the size of the service capacity in an economically sustainable way. This paper seeks to clarify the economic impacts of population changes on technical services in Swedish local municipalities. Two technical sectors are compared: waste operations, and water and wastewater operations. Potential impacts are identified in existing literature. A dataset is analyzed using regression analysis. The results suggest that there are no clear reported economic impacts of population changes for waste operations. Waste operations seem to be able to adapt to existing population changes in an economically sustainable manner. On the other hand, the results show that there are clear economic impacts connected to population changes for water and wastewater operations. Costs and user fee levels are lower in municipalities with population growth, compared to municipalities with a declining population. However, the investment expenditure per connected capita increases greatly in municipalities with population growth.


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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413