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Norwegian County Municipalities in a Multi-level system. Effects of European Integration on Sub-national Decision Behaviour in a Closely Integrated...

Dag Ole Teigen photo

By focusing on sub-national governance in a smaller unitary state closely integrated with the European Union through the EEA Agreement (and other agreements), the dissertation serves as a critical test of administrative integration as result of European integration.

Dag Ole Teigen

PhD Candidate

Dag Ole Teigen will defend his thesis Norwegian County Municipalities in a Multi-level system. Effects of European Integration on Sub-national Decision Behaviour in a Closely Integrated Non-Member State 8 December 2023. 

Summary of the thesis:

Public administrations play a crucial role in formulating, initiating, implementing, and developing public policies. To comprehend how public policy evolves and is practiced, it is important to analyze how decision-making behavior is influenced by both internal organizational factors and administrative relations between different institutions.

This thesis examines how European integration affects sub-national decision-making behavior in a closely integrated non-member state. Multi-level Administration (MLA) implies that administrative units at different levels of government interact with each other, sharing responsibility for specific tasks. The main objective of the dissertation is to analyze the inclusion of (parts of) sub-national administrative units in Multi-level Administrative systems and its implications for implementing sub-national public policies.

This analysis is empirically conducted in Norwegian County Administrations. By focusing on sub-national governance in a smaller unitary state closely integrated with the European Union through the EEA Agreement (and other agreements), the dissertation serves as a critical test of administrative integration as result of European integration. 

The three articles in this dissertation examine:   

(i) the EU/EEA work of County Administrations and the implementation of EU/EEA policies 

(ii) how organizational theoretical factors can explain variation in external influence on important decisions 

(iii) the Europeanization of the final phase of the counties' decision-making processes and its impact on cross-sectoral coordination

The dissertation demonstrates that even at a sub-national level of governance in a closely integrated non-member state, MLA processes exert a certain level of influence. Under specific conditions, sub-national decision-making processes are influenced by multiple external actors simultaneously («compound governance»), and the organizational structure of sub-national entities helps shape decision-making behavior. Furthermore, Europeanization affects different policy areas to varying degrees, including during the final phase of the counties' decision-making processes.

The findings reveal complex interaction patterns and argue against perceiving the interaction capacity of County Administrations as a zero-sum game, where increased interaction with one actor diminishes interaction with others. These overall findings have implications for cross-sectoral coordination and the ability of the domestic Central Administration to oversee sub-national implementation work.

One implication could be the development of «enclaves» within County Administrations, where different parts of the administration serve as tools for the domestic Central Administration while simultaneously collaborating with multiple external actors. This well-known «dilemma of coordination» can also arise at sub-national levels, as vertical integration within a specific policy area simultaneously challenges overall governance when different parts of sub-national units function as «enclaves» for various external actors. 

Find more information about the time and place for the doctoral defence.