Administrative capacity and long-term policy making at the Icelandic local level

Eva Marín Hlynsdóttir


Leach and Wilson (2002) identified four key tasks of local government leaders. Building on their initiative, this paper examines the task of developing strategic and policy direction at the Icelandic local level from the viewpoint of the Icelandic mayor. In addition, it explores the administrative capacity of Icelandic local governance. Individuals occupying mayoral positions in Iceland always serve as heads of administration. At times, mayors are council members (political mayors), while other times they are hired based on their professional skills (manager-mayors). The findings suggest that mayors of both types play crucial roles in long-term policy making. However, the study shows that the daily work of manager-mayors is often hindered by fragmentation and lack of specialisation within the administration as well as by the laymen rule upon which the council-committee system is based.


Local government; administrative capacity; long-term policy making.


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