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Inadequate decision-making in Sweden negotiations

Utility analyzes that form the basis for decision-making in the Swedish negotiations do not hold what they promise. This means Erik Ronnle, PhD student at K2 and Lund University, who studies decision-making in the Swedish negotiations. "The utility analyzes have so many methodological errors and are incomparable in so many ways that they can not be used," says Erik Ronnle.

The current utility analyzes were submitted to the Swedish negotiations in the fall of 2015 as a part of the negotiations collection and factual phase. The purpose of the phase has been to provide a common basis for future negotiations on co-financing and stations. The purpose of the utility analyzes is to identify community benefits of infrastructure investments at local level, thereby supplementing existing calculations.

Long-term utility

The cost benefit analyzes that have been made have been negative. The utility analyzes, on the other hand, indicate the added value of high-speed rail and city-center measures, local and regional, and have had the ambition to broaden the concept of business and include more benefits. It is about housing, travel times, the labor market, business, environment and social benefits for each municipality and region.

Erik Ronnle

The methodological errors that Erik Ronnle has found is about double and triple bills of utility, unclear assumptions and method choices, incomparable data, and the neglecting of costs and negative effects. Instead, participants focus on arguing for their cause and many have made their own interpretations of the instructions, says Erik Ronnle's analysis.

- It's not wrong to do this, but you should be open with how to make the decision and where to get your numbers, says Erik Ronnle.

Used for political support

- The utility analyzes are insufficient as a basis for decision making because the negotiation process trumps the analysis process. The hearing has already begun in the actual phase of the facts. My interpretation is that the Swedish negotiations used the utility analyzes to build political support and engage the municipalities in the project, said Erik Ronnle, who recently published his findings in Case Studies on Transport Policy.

Erik Ronnle also points out that it is difficult to find out where the housing benefits are shown in the analyzes.

- When I interviewed those who made the analyzes later, they say that it is housing we had built anyway. It is a part of the game, it is politics, says Erik Ronnle.