The Shrinking State

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM (MDT)
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Organizers: Kevin Cox
Chairs: Kevin Cox


Across the globe, the public sector appears under assault. There are variations across and within nations in how this plays out but the arms of the state that protect the social safety net and citizens' well-being are especially at risk. Shifts in the state's role may be seen in slashes to social programs, cutbacks in public sector workers, underfunded infrastructure, selling off assets and other privatization, the weakening of regulatory authority, and overall diversion of resources to the private sector over the public good. While the previous trends are often interpreted as part of the fallout from the Great Recession, they have been observed across localities and regions for earlier decades but appear to have gained momentum in recent years. It is not clear how widespread these trends are, if they will escalate, and whether they represent a new phase in neo-liberal development whereby capitalist elites have now overwhelmed the state, gained massive bargaining power relative to labor and citizens, become increasingly predatory, and fundamentally altered the role of government at all spatial scales. Even local governments that were once considered recession-proof in the case of the United States experienced dramatic cutbacks.

This session, sponsored by the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society issue will explore, among other themes, how the social contract between citizens, government, and private sector has shifted or been broken; why and where the public sector is shrinking; the scales of the state at which the changes have been greatest; and the long term trajectory of macro-economic austerity.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Linda Lobao*, Rural Sociology Program, School of Envir and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University Columbus OH 43210, Mia Gray, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN, Kevin Cox, Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA , Michael Kitson, Judge Business School University of Cambridge Cambridge CB2 1AG UK, The Shrinking State? Debates, Implications, and Trends in the Retreat of the Public Sector 20 9:55 AM
Presenter Mildred Warner*, Cornell University, Shrinking Local Autonomy: Corporate Coalitions and the Subnational State 20 10:15 AM
Presenter Heather Whiteside*, University of Waterloo, Austerity as epiphenomenon? Public assets before and beyond 2008 20 10:35 AM
Presenter Caitlin Alcorn*, University of Washington, Kim England*, University of Washington, Growing Care Gaps, Shrinking State? Home Care Workers and The Fair Labor Standards Act 20 10:55 AM
Presenter Mia Gray*, University of Cambridge, Anna Barford, University of Cambridge, The Depths of the Cuts: the Uneven Geography of Local Government Austerity 20 11:15 AM

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