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Administrative discretion in the management of Swedish wolf policy

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This article explores the use of administrative discretion in the management of Swedish wolf policy. Using an ethnographic method, the study deploys three conceptual categories (legal conditions, moral evaluations and organisational rules) to describe and explain how and why the administrators at the county administrative boards approach their tasks using administrative discretion. Overall results indicate that the main reason why authorities exercise discretion is to increase the effectiveness of what they see as an incomplete law. This conclusion is supported by evidence demonstrating that more positive evaluations of the regulatory framework are associated with less exercise of discretion. Moreover, the officers try to interpret each rule in a way that increases acceptance of the predator policy and decreases the risk of protest. The results indicate that, to better support and guide administrative agencies, the law needs to be reinforced by giving officers more specific and detailed rules and instruments.
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Keywords: administrative discretion; damage prevention and compensation; environmental policy; policy implementation; public administration; wolves

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Public Sector Research (CEFOS),University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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