Intra-state governments in Iceland: still more government than governance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Icelandic local government system is in many ways different from the other Nordic local government systems. Until the early 1990s Icelandic local government rarely participated in the development of the welfare state. A large majority of municipalities remain very small and they rely on an extensive network of intermunicipal cooperation to provide services to their citizens. Local authorities are responsible for a large variety of tasks, however they remain very traditional in many ways with strong cultural territorial identity ranging back to the early settlement of Iceland more than 1000 years ago. In the past three decades modernization of the local government level through decentralization and extensive amalgamations have created tensions between these traditional roles of local government and their modern role as extensive service providers and leaders of governance networks. These tensions remain largely unresolved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA modern guide to local and regional politics
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)9781839103452
ISBN (Print)9781839103445
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022

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