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The politics behind aiding administrative reform: Swedish politicians’ views on the technical assistance to CEE countries during their transition process
University of Skövde, School of Technology and Society.
Radboud University Nijmegen, Dept. of Public Administration, The Netherlands.
2008 (English)In: Leadership and Management in the Public Sector: Values, Standards and Competencies in Central and Eastern Europe: Selected Papers from the 15th NISPAcee Annual Conference Kyiv 2007 / [ed] Laszlo Vass; Olena Kulenkova-Orzhel; Christopher Pollitt, Bratislava: NISPAcee Press, 2008, p. 133-162Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Previous research by the authors on the Western assistance to CEE countries during the transition process revealed that it was often ineffective and that priorities in and the nature of aid changed irrespective of negative side-effect on ongoing processes. Recipients blamed foreign advisors for giving inadequate advice; the Swedish foreign advisors pointed to the aid organizations, which did not provide adequate boundary conditions; and the latter told us that it was all politics, decided by consecutive ministers in the Swedish government (Sobis & De Vries, 2004, 2005, 2006, De Vries & Sobis, 2006). This paper is a follow-up on this previous research. In this paper we investigate the motives and reasons behind the assistance programs from the perspective of the Swedish government, which was responsible for this kind of aid. How did Swedish government arrive at decisions regarding the technical assistance to CEE countries and changes therein? The aim of this research is to gain further insight in the explaining factors of the (in)effectiveness of foreign assistance programs. The research question underlying this investigation reads: What were the characteristics of the position of Swedish government with regard to foreign assistance to CEE countries? How did these change during the last 15 years and what were the determining factors explaining these developments? In neo institutional theory two explaining factors are mentioned: the logic of consequentiality and the logic of appropriateness. (March & Olsen, 1989). The research presented in this paper will be framed within this theory. The description of this theory constitutes the first part of the paper. This theoretical part is followed by the presentation of our empirical research. This empirical research is based, firstly, on interviews with the Swedish officials: the Prime Ministers, the representative of Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the representative of Finance Ministry, who were politically active during the years of 1988-1997. Secondly it is based on an analysis of the diaries written by the Swedish officials who were political active during the years 1988-1997, and by some politicians who are still politically active today. Thirdly, it based on an analysis of the Swedish statute-books, government bills, resolutions and reports. The paper concludes on the question which logic (of consequentiality or of appropriateness) was dominant in explaining the decisions made by the Swedish government regarding assistance to CEE countries during the transition process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bratislava: NISPAcee Press, 2008. p. 133-162
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-2444ISBN: 978-80-89013-36-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-2444DiVA, id: diva2:127545
Conference
15th NISPAcee Annual Conference, "Leadership and Management in the Public Sector: Values, Standards and Competencies in Central and Eastern Europe", May 17 - 19, 2007, Kiev, Ukraine
Available from: 2008-12-08 Created: 2008-12-08 Last updated: 2021-03-16Bibliographically approved

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