OECD Territorial Reviews: Småland-Blekinge, Sweden 2012

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Småland-Blekinge, Sweden 2012

The OECD territorial review of Småland-Blekinge presents an overview of recent trends, regional policies and governance arrangements of this region that is made up of four counties in South-East Sweden: Jönköping,  Kronoberg, Kalmar and Blekinge. The challenges include the need to facilitate a shift from the region’s historic specialisation in medium-low and low technology manufacturing towards more knowledge-intensive activities. This will require addressing the supply of human capital, improving connectivity and enhancing the attractiveness of the region. A regionalisation reform is now under discussion in Sweden with potential implications for Småland-Blekinge. Whatever the future administrative structure of Småland-Blekinge, the effectiveness of regional development policies and public service delivery will be directly related to strengthened interaction and co-ordination arrangements among the numerous actors and administrative units involved.

English Also available in: Swedish

Assessment and recommendations

All four Småland-Blekinge counties recorded growth rates above the OECD average for TL3 regions from the mid-1990s until the crisis year of 2008. Moreover, GDP per capita in the four counties was already above the OECD average in 1995, meaning that the four counties are both relatively wealthy and dynamic by OECD standards. The area is known to be one of the most business-friendly parts of Sweden, with several well-known industrial clusters. The world’s largest furniture retailer, IKEA, originated in Småland, and one of the most active industrial districts in Scandinavia, the Gnosjö district, is located over four small municipalities in Jönköping County. Employment rates in the region have been fairly high by both Swedish and OECD standards. This, along with high wages and a comprehensive welfare state, has provided the foundation for high levels of welfare and quality of life in the region.


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