Why Do They Fail?

  • Josefina Syssner
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Geography book series (BRIEFSGEOGRAPHY)


It is well known that local-level policymakers avoid developing strategies for how to handle long-term population decline. A central claim in this chapter is that we should try to understand why this is so. That is, the inability among policymakers to deal with depopulation is in itself a phenomenon that needs to be explained. The chapter starts out from a broad literature on the success and failure of the public sector and suggests that the inability to plan for depopulation can be seen as a policy failure. It is also suggested that the disinclination among local governments in Sweden to plan for decline has to do with the potential benefits of growth, goal dependencies, a prevalent growth norm, personal sentiments and a lack of professional support or good examples of smart shrinking. By way of conclusion, it is suggested that we need to make a better distinction between two interrelated policy areas: growth and development policy versus local adaptation policy.


Depopulation Shrinkage Policy failure Growth norm Goal dependencies 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josefina Syssner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Culture and SocietyLinköping UniversityNorrkopingSweden

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