This article studies the difference in the government response to COVID-19 in Norway and Sweden drawing upon theories of agenda setting, crisis management and multi-level governance. Despite having virtually identical systems of government and, initially, facing similar infection threats, Sweden opted for far less strict countermeasures than Norway. While Norway’s government response was similar to that of many European countries, Sweden received international attention for choosing befuddlingly soft measures, mostly recommendations and guidelines. This divergence is discussed vis-à-vis the multiple streams lens of agenda setting theory, highlighting differences in institutional and organisational legacies (e.g., the autonomy of government agencies) and intergovernmental relations (e.g., whether infectious disease expertise and authority is located at the local level).
- Ekonomi och näringsliv