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State Intervention and the Role of History - state and private actors in Swedish network industries


  • Lars Magnusson
  • Jan Ottosson


Three main theoretical positions towards state intervention and regulation are discussed in relation to the case of Swedish infrastructure. The positive, the normative, and the political transaction cost approaches are examined in relation to the historic development of regulatory systems in civil aviation, railroads, and telecommunications. The authors show that governance regimes have historical roots, and develop differently due to policies implemented by state agencies. Three points are illuminated with a view to the interaction between state and private actors in the transport and communication sector. First, the role and function of the state agencies as well as the political system itself point to the need for a more refined analysis of state action. The active role of state agencies is also discussed emphasizing the difference between political decisions and the implementation of such decisions. Second, the role of a historical perspective is discussed, arguing that it makes possible a better understanding of the reasons behind choices of particular strategies. Finally, there might be good reason to expect the state either to act solely as a rent seeker, or as a promoter of optimal solutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Magnusson & Jan Ottosson, 2000. "State Intervention and the Role of History - state and private actors in Swedish network industries," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 191-205.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:12:y:2000:i:2:p:191-205
    DOI: 10.1080/095382500406503

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rutherford,Malcolm, 1996. "Institutions in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521574471, April.
    2. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    3. David, Paul A., 1994. "Why are institutions the 'carriers of history'?: Path dependence and the evolution of conventions, organizations and institutions," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 205-220, December.
    4. Noll, Roger G., 1989. "Economic perspectives on the politics of regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1253-1287 Elsevier.
    5. Claudia Goldin & Gary D. Libecap, 1994. "The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold94-1, June.
    6. Mark T. Kanazawa & Roger G. Noll, 1994. "The Origins of State Railroad Regulation: The Illinois Constitution of 1870," NBER Chapters,in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 13-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:mes:jeciss:v:30:y:1996:i:4:p:1212-1216 is not listed on IDEAS
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