Chapter 4: The Nordic countries
The overall approach of the Nordic countries towards PPP can be described as quite sceptical. There are some publicly funded pilot projects at national level and some local activities, but PPP politics never ‘lifted off’ in these countries. Surprisingly, there is a lot of research literature on PPP in the Scandinavian countries, contrarily to the level of PPP commitment there. Taking the size of the GDP and public investment into account, the ranking according to Table 3.2 is: Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Institutional variables such as a corporatist style of policy making require discussion when explaining the comparatively low level of activity in these countries. Furthermore, privatization policies primarily focused on assets in the field of ‘natural monopolies’ or ‘network industries’ such as roads and railways, ports, airlines, power generation and distribution, water and sewage, and telecommunications (Köthenbürger 2006: xvi). Thus, the following chapter aims to explore similarities and differences within this group of rather reluctant PPP users. While a consensus orientation is a common feature of Nordic party systems, it is stronger in Danish politics than in Finland and Sweden, leading to a high degree of institutional stability and continuity. Similar to Sweden, minority governments occur quite often in Denmark. The weak parliamentary basis of coalition governments as well as the high parliamentary fragmentation makes quick policy changes less likely. They also contribute to a strong legislature (or weak executive) in terms of Lijphart’s (1999) legislative–executive dimension.
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