Planners’ analysis and opportunism – benefit analysis in the Swedish HSR-project: a preliminary analysis

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The dominating form of analysis in the transport sector is cost–benefit analysis (CBA). This study investigates the purpose and use of an alternative analysis intended to complement CBA in the Swedish high-speed rail project. According to CBA calculations, the project is heavily unprofitable. While some politicians called for project termination, the project leadership launched an alternative benefit analysis that calculated only benefits (disregarding costs). This was intended to be a basis for decision making on station localization and financing agreements, but it was quickly downplayed due to its methodological inconsistencies. However, the project leadership still used the identified benefits opportunistically as a counterweight to the negative CBA results. They also engaged local-level civil servants and politicians in making the reports. This built political momentum and made the local-level civil servants and politicians adopt the mindset of the project. This study shows how a methodologically flawed analysis is used for political manoeuvring. From a scientific CBA perspective, this is alarming, but from a political perspective it is not surprising. The findings echo earlier research showing that analysis for decision making is often used for political purposes. The results suggest that future research should consider how opportunism in alternative benefit analysis can be limited.


  • Erik Ronnle
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Infrastrukturteknik
  • Ekonomisk geografi
  • Företagsekonomi


Sidor (från-till)2232-2249
Antal sidor18
TidskriftEuropean Planning Studies
Utgåva nummer12
StatusPublished - 2017
Peer review utfördJa