Bargaining, Strategy and Opportunism - A case study of why amalgamating municipalities hoard
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How does municipal leadership legitimise the decision of whether to hoard ahead of an amalgamation? To answer this question, I conducted semi-structured interviews with eight political leaders involved in the amalgamation of Førde, Jølster, Gaular and Naustdal into Sunnfjord municipality in 2020. These interviews reveal three main explanations of increased spending, also known as hoarding, ahead of the amalgamation. First, an understanding emerged that some hoarding among the smaller municipalities was acceptable. It was seen as the price to pay for a successful amalgamation by the biggest municipality, Førde. Second, the smaller municipalities explained that they hoarded to ensure the long-term local provision of core services for their citizenry while they still could. Third, some informants cited the opportunity to internalise benefits of increased spending while sharing costs with the new municipality. I also find evidence to suggest that cultural differences between amalgamating municipalities and polarisation within them could be important determinants of hoarding in municipal amalgamations.
Postponed access: the file will be accessible after 2023-06-15