Justifying Mega-Projects. An Analysis of the Swedish High-Speed Rail Project

Erik Ronnle, Lund studies in Economics and Management. Lund 2019.

Mega-projects are a growing phenomenon worldwide. More and more projects are started and they grow ever bigger in size. At the same time, there is overwhelming evidence that mega-projects tend to run late,
overrun in terms of costs and fail to deliver the expected benefits. Paradoxically, more and more money is invested in projects that fail to deliver on their promises.
This dissertation analyses how mega-projects are justified through a case study of the Swedish highspeed rail project and the National Negotiation on Housing and Infrastructure (Sverigeförhandlingen). The dissertation finds that the Swedish high-speed rail project is being justified based on a combination of strategies: widening the scope, producing encouraging numbers, creating and mobilising stakeholders, and arguing using a policy narrative. It shows how the project leadership skilfully bypasses criticism from
cost-benefit analysis and succeeds to gather support for the project despite the numbers.

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