• Anders Peter Thomasen
4. term, Public Administration and Social Science (Master Programme)
This study mainly deals with the most recent development within the major Danish municipalities concerning a yearlong and seemingly recurring issue within these municipalities and on the national policy-level about the politico-administrative organizing of these major city municipalities. A central feature of this issue and the debate surrounding it has mainly been viewing the formal structure, or to be more specific the local government form, as the main tool of intervention in order to face certain organizational features of these municipalities. These features can namely be seen with regards to their relative size and complexity when compared to the rest of the total 98 Danish municipalities. As I demonstrate throughout the study, the newest development or epoch within this issue took place within a broad span of years between the years of 2002-2013. Prior to this period, two of the three major municipalities, Copenhagen and Odense, had underwent a reformation of their local government form back in 1998.

Despite a somehow rich and empirical documentation, namely on behalf of Copenhagen and Aarhus, of the later efforts from 2002 and on to put forward a new agenda for changing the formal structure, little is actually known about these later efforts. It is also important to note, however, that these efforts never really manifested themselves into something substantial in terms of changing the formal structure in the three concerning municipalities. By a study of some of the most central documents and whitepapers produced in the period, my primary aim with this study therefore is to provide with a basic and chronological overview of the development within the three municipalities and on the national policy-level. At the same time I will also seek to delve deeper into what seemed to be the ups and downs behind the efforts to change the formal structure. This will result in an attempt to seek out to construct an institutionalized program theory which can be understood as the main logic or rationale behind the intervention efforts across the three municipalities and on the national policy-level. The construction of this institutionalized program theory will therefore also serve as this study’s main argument which will be brought forward and discussed in the final section of this paper.

A tentative conclusion towards the main focus in this paper is that the efforts to change the formal structure in the three municipalities during the 00’s may not as such be seen as distinguished apart from the former attempt to use the formal structure as a the main tool of intervention back in 1998. As such, the attempts to do so during the 00’s could be seen as a response to face some of the negative side effects that the previous change in formal structure had caused. This argument, though, mainly concerns with Copenhagen and Odense as there was no such change in formal structure or local government form in the third municipality of Aarhus in 1998. On the other hand, however, some of the challenges faced here can be argued to have relation to some of the challenges faced in Copenhagen and Odense prior to the change in local government form back in the late 90’s. Despite these differences, a common ground for all three concerning municipalities seemed to be the idea of introducing more parliamentary forms of local government in response to a normative desire for a higher degree of accountability and effectiveness embedded in the politico-administrative formal structure.
Publication date20 Jun 2019
Number of pages74
ID: 306294822