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Distriktenes Utbyggingsfond og Erik Brofoss

f. 1949, hovedfag i økonomisk historie 1976, professor ved Høgskolen i Lillehammer.

havard.teigen@hil.no

Distriktenes Utbyggingsfond starta opp i 1961 og vart lagt inn i eit nytt selskap, Statens Nærings- og Distriktsutbyggingsfond i 1994. Artikkelen presenterer kort noko av bakgrunnen for at Norge fekk ein nasjonal distriktspolitikk. Med dette som utgangspunkt, presenterer vi striden om kva utbyggingsfondet skulle bli og den prosessen som førde til at Erik Brofoss tok oppgåva som aktiv styreleiar. At han vart spurt, viser at distriktspolitikken vart sett på som viktig. At han sa ja og sat så lengje, er ei forklaring på at dette politikkområdet kom til å spele så viktige roller.

The Regional Development Fund and Erik Brofoss

All over the world, the industrialization of society changed patterns at local level and introduced regional imbalances. Consequently, there was the need for regional policy. In this article we examine the background and process that led to establishment of the Regional Development Fund (RDF) in 1961. The RDF was primarily an instrument for creating new jobs in northern Norway and in rural areas in the south, the objectives being to strengthen the economic base of business and industry and to increase employment in regions with a low level of economic activity. One of the major conflicts was whether the new body (RDF) should only be supplementary to established bodies that had industrialization as their main purpose. Erik Brofoss, one of the most influential figures in Norway, was asked to be the first chairman of the board of RDF, and negotiations that took place between him and the government are particularly illuminating. Brofoss would not accept that the RDF should only have a supplementary role to the already established Industrial Bank. He also claimed autonomy for RDF in relation to the government and would not accept representation of the Norwegian Industrial Department on the board of the RDF. Although Brofoss’s demands were exacting, he got his way in the end and accepted the position as chairman of the board, remaining there for a period of 16 years. In 1994 the principal institutions for the implementation of Norwegian industrial policy merged within the National Industrial and Regional Development Fund (SND). With this amalgamation the RDF and the Industrial bank became the main actors, with the RDF the leading one. In the end, Brofoss built up a stronger institution than those that the RDF was originally only meant to supplement.

Keywords: Industrial policy, regional policy, regional imbalances, Regional Development Fund (RDF).
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