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Historisk tidskrift 128:1 • 2008

Innehåll (Contents) 2008:1

Uppsatser (Articles)

Politikbyte och idéernas betydelse Reformeringen av den svenska jordbrukspolitiken

Av Henrik Lindberg

Fulltext (pdf)


Policy change and the role of ideas – Reforming Swedish agricultural policy

The 1980s saw major reforms of Swedish agricultural policy, which culminated in 1990. The reform process was initiated by economists who reformulated the de- bate on agriculture by bringing a public choice perspective and a broader outlook to bear on issues of agricultural policy. Their reformulation showed that policy was developed by an “iron triangle” consisting of farmers and their unions, bureau- crats and politicians inside the field. The economists further showed that existing agricultural policy benefited vested interests and fell short of officially stipulated aims. A new policy coalition gained the initiative through connections with and support from the Ministry of Finance. Eventually a new policy direction was ac- cepted by the Prime Minister and worked its way into the Ministry of Agriculture. By making clear that deregulation of the agricultural sector would greatly benefit consumers and provide a net gain to society, the public debate on agriculture was altered. The economists had succeeded in overcoming the “iron triangle” by intro- ducing new ideas and a new agenda into a policy field hitherto dominated by vested interests.


Agricultural Policy reform, Sweden, policy coalition, idea carriers, Public Choice, economists, iron triangle