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Local Government Amalgamations: The Case of Finland

  • Journal of Regional Studies and Development
  • Abbr : JRSD
  • 2008, 17(2), pp.63-82
  • Publisher : Institute for Poverty Alleviation and International Development: IPAID
  • Research Area : Social Science > Area Studies > Regional Studies in general > Comparative / Statistical Regional Studies

Pekka Kettunen 1

1University of Tampere, Finland

ABSTRACT

This article deals with municipal amalgamations. Amalgamations seem to be a widely used method to reform territorial structure across Europe. The existing literature, however, does not strongly support the common motives for amalgamations. Big is not always beautiful, and public services differ in terms of the optimal organizational structure. In Finland, after several decades of voluntary-based amalgamations, the government decided in 2005 to launch a comprehensive reform of the local government system. All municipalities were required to rearrange their structure so that health and vocational education services would be provided to a wider population. The government encouraged municipalities to amalgamate, but inter-municipal cooperation was allowed as well. At the beginning of 2009, about one fifth of Finnish municipalities will amalgamate with another, and a majority of all municipalities will decide to engage in cooperation with other municipalities. The article examines this process in detail.

Citation status

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