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Ny väg till nya vägar och järnvägar : Finanseringspragmatism och planeringsrationalism vid beslut om infrastrukturinvesteringar

New Road to New Roads and Railways : Financial Pragmatism and Planning Rationalism in Decision-making on Infrastructure Investments


  • John Hultén

Summary, in English

Investment planning is a decision-making process with specific characteristics. It is often seen as a rational quest for solutions that are in the public interest, and the dominant discourse tends to be technical and economic. Public documents reproduce this picture of a decision-making process based on rationalist premises where analytical methods and objective facts form the basis for decisions. Behind this purely rationalist façade, however, planning is also a highly political process where various actors try to impose their will on others. This aspect of the planning process is characterised by a less rationalist and more pragmatic way of thinking. The overall aim of the dissertation is to explore the tension between rationalism and pragmatism in decision-making and to investigate the manifestations of these aspects in the instruments that govern planning processes. Special emphasis is placed on decision-making processes involving multiple tiers of government.

The research presented in the dissertation has been carried out as a case study of the planning of road and railway investments in Sweden. One part of the empirical analysis focuses on the historical-institutional development of investment planning from its introduction in the 1950s to the present day, with a special focus on the planning instruments involved. A second part of the analysis focuses on the decision-making process that resulted in a major investment plan presented in March 2010, with special emphasis on local and regional co-financing as a new and highly pragmatic instrument used in the process. The dissertation shows that a shift towards more pragmatic views has taken place during the last couple of decades. New financial arrangements are an indication of such a dynamic change.

Publishing year





Lund Political Studies



Document type



Lund University


  • Political Science


  • pragmatism
  • rationalism
  • railway investments
  • road investments
  • transport infrastructure
  • co-financing
  • alternative financing
  • investment planning
  • planning
  • Decision-making process




  • ISSN: 0460-0037
  • ISBN: 978-91-88306-83-8
  • ISBN: 91-88306-83-6

Defence date

25 May 2012

Defence time


Defence place

Edens Hörsal, Paradisgatan 5H, Lund


  • Patrik Hall (Docent)