State Governance or Local Agency? Determining Refugee Settlement in Norwegian Municipalities

Anton Steen, Maiken Røed


The commitment to make provisions for huge numbers of aylum-seekers challenges Norway's welfare state. Every year the central government requests most local governments to receive a certain number of refugees. Local governments are free to accept or decline - and many are hesitant. The ensuing implementation gap stems from this goal conflict and ineffective governance, but also reflects a decentralized decisinmaking system, embedded in an ideology of local autonomy where local authorities seek to accommodate state goals to feasable local solutions. The focus here is on the Chief Municipal Executive (rådmann) as the main manager of local government affairs. How does central governance influence local agency - and with what consequences for settlement decisions? We analyze this state-local controversy using insights from the principal-agent model.

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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