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Fiscal Decentralisation in Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden


  • Nørgaard Stig Martin

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Braestrup Jacob Wimpffen

    (University of Copenhagen)


The Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are similar in many respects, not least with regards to the basic administrative set-up: a non-federal task-related division between state, counties and municipalities. In all three countries, counties and municipalities raise a large share of their own revenue, which is then supplemented by government grants. In addition, central government redistributes large amounts of locally collected revenue between the municipalities and the counties respectively, severely hampering local budgetary autonomy. Tax matters are generally centralised, although local governments to a varying degree play a role in the collection of taxes as well as in the setting of local tax rates (usually on personal income and property). In Denmark, Norway, and Sweden alike, the administrative set-up has not been able to prevent a massive increase in local public expenditure in the latter part of the 20th century.Les pays scandinaves, Danemark, Norvège et Suède présentent des similitudes sur beaucoup de points et notamment sur le plan de lorganisation de la base administrative : une division sans relation utilitaire fédérale entre lEtat, les régions et les municipalités. Dans ces trois pays, les régions et les municipalités lèvent une large part de leurs propres revenus qui sont alors augmentés par les subventions du gouvernement.De plus, le gouvernement central redistribue de larges sommes de revenus collectés localement entre les municipalités et les régions respectivement, ce qui gêne sérieusement lautonomie budgétaire locale. Les questions fiscales sont généralement centralisées, bien que les gouvernements locaux, à des degrés divers, jouent un rôle dans la collecte des impôts aussi bien que dans la fixation des taux dimpositions locales (habituellement sur les revenus et la propriété). Au Danemark et en Norvège tout comme en Suède, lorganisation administrative na pas été capable de prévenir une augmentation massive des dépenses publiques locales dans les dernières années du 20ème siècle.

Suggested Citation

  • Nørgaard Stig Martin & Braestrup Jacob Wimpffen, 2003. "Fiscal Decentralisation in Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 13(4), pages 1-27, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:13:y:2003:i:4:n:4

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