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Deregulation of public services accentuates regional polarisation in Switzerland's alpine regions

A postal bus in a mountain region.

A postal bus in a mountain region. © www.postauto.ch

A new study by the Swiss National Research Programme NFP 48 entitled Landscapes and Habitats of the Alps has shown that the deregulation of public services has accentuated inequalities between centres and peripheries in alpine regions.
A survey of 1,385 companies in Switzerland's mountain cantons has revealed that businesses in peripheral regions feel disadvantaged by the increased market orientation of post office, telecommunications, public transport and electricity, and have noted direct negative consequences. By contrast businesses at the centre of mountain regions feel virtually no drawbacks due to their location. What's more, by virtue of the demand power they command, large companies tend to be more favourable towards deregulation than small and medium-sized companies. While most businesses see advantages in the deregulation process when it comes to telecommunications, the opening-up of the post office market in particular is viewed with a critical eye.
Mountain cantons face a dual challenge. On the one hand they feel that optimum links between centres in mountain regions and centres in Switzerland as a whole need to be guaranteed. And on the other they believe that more attention needs to be paid to the development of peripheral regions. A strategy with regionally defined objectives would help to overcome this challenge.
Source and information: www.nfp48.ch/projekte/projects_detail (de); Thierstein, A. (2004) Liberalisierung öffentlicher Dienstleistungen. Bern (de)
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