Cooperation for Regional Growth and Development in the Värmland Region 1998-2008 : - With a Triple Helix Approach

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Fakulteten för samhälls- och livsvetenskaper

Abstract: In spite of Sweden´s lack of formal regions, the country is evolving towards regional administrations. The regional level are to a growing extent viewed as important bases for economic growth and development. The concept of the triple helix implies that interaction between the public sector, the industry and universities is a source to economic and social development. Research has though implied that the interaction between the triple helix actors could be problematic from a multi-level governance perspective. It has been shown that since the institutional setting is horizontal and vertical fragmented, cooperation between different institutions and actors becomes difficult. In year 2005-2006 the Värmland region was one of fourteen regions in twelve countries that was included in a OECD project, that was a response to the multiplicity of initiatives across the OECD countries concerning regional development. In the report that evolved from the project actors in Värmland was recommended to improve the cooperation concerning regional development in the county. This thesis investigates the cooperation between the triple helix actors for regional growth and development in the Värmland region 1998-2008. My research questions are: Is there evidence of a lack of cooperation between the university, the public sector and the industrial actors in Värmland? And if this is the case, could these problems be related to the fragmentation of the institutional setting? The thesis is a qualitative case study, conducted through elite-interviews and document analysis. My findings implies that the cooperation between the triple helix actors in Värmland has developed dramatically the last decade. From a strive for coordination that was pervaded by institutional fragmentation to an increased closeness and mutual involvement that has come to over-bridge the institutional fragmentation on the regional level. Although, it seems like the vertical fragmentation between the regional and national level, which could impede growth and development in the region, to a great degree remains.

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