Norwegian version

Crisis Management in a Polycentric Nordic Local Democracy: Different Governance Structures – Different Results? (POLYGOV)

The overall goal of the project is to identify the differences in the Nordic countries’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the outcomes thereof and to relate these differences to policy, governance, organisation and management.

The Nordic municipalities are important in dealing with crises in society. Strategies may be adopted centrally, but they are implemented locally. The POLYGOV project is a comparative study of the crisis management, organisation and functioning of local democracies in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark against the backdrop of the divergent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The thesis guiding the project is that the countries' institutional choices with respect to local and regional governance are important determining factors for their capacity to organise, coordinate and manage the pandemic.

The project compares local and regional coordination and management strategies employed as the pandemic has unfolded from March 2020 to date, including the vaccination strategies.

Comparative analysis

The uniqueness of the project is that it takes advantage of the exceptional learning potential inherent in a comparative analysis of institutional data and data on actual crisis behaviour in the Nordic governance systems. The overall goal is to identify the differences in the Nordic countries’ handling of the pandemic and the outcomes thereof and to relate these differences to policy, governance, organisation and management.

The outcome variables are inequality in health security (illness, death and vaccination) and social security (economic and social measures).

Four perspectives

The project focuses on four perspectives: legal, health, governance and organizational. The empirical basis is legal sources, quantitative data (surveys and register data) and strategic case studies.

The project will provide knowledge on how to maintain sustainable democratic local and regional governance in a crisis. As part of the responses to the pandemic, we must maintain the inclusive Nordic welfare models providing public health, social security, equality and economic growth.

The research team consists of scholars from nine Nordic universities in five Nordic countries, including the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland.

  • Participants at OsloMet

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  • Partner institutions

    • Universitetet i Oslo, Norway
    • Universitetet i Agder, Norway
    • Linköping Universitet, Sweden 
    • University of Akureyri, Iceland 
    • University of Helsinki, Finland 
    • VIVE - Det Nationale Forsknings- og Analysecenter for Velfærd, Denmark
    • University of the Faroe Islands, Faroe Islands
    • University of Greenland, Greenland