Municipal Governance and Finance: Before and After the Pandemic I

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 59
Organizers: Mark Davidson
Chairs: Kevin Ward


When COVID-19 swept across the U.S. in early 2020, municipal finance markets experienced a huge sell-off. Many investors calculated that the pandemic would result in cities taking huge hits to revenues and, potentially, end up struggling to pay their debts. This volatility led to an unprecedented move by the Federal Reserve to provide financing to local and state governments. COVID-19 also looks to be compounding existing municipal budget stresses, particularly pension shortfalls and OPEB liabilities. Just how cities will respond to these budget problems moving forward is unclear. Theories of post-recession municipal governance give us contrasting interpretations. Some have characterized contemporary urban governance reform as being based on austere budget shrinkage (Peck, 2014). This explanation sits uncomfortably next to those who argue cities have been pragmatic and resistant to small-state thinking (Kim and Warner, 2016). Our paper and panel sessions examine post-recession and post-pandemic urban finance and governance. The papers report research on a variety of cases, illustrating what types of budget pressures municipalities have been under, and how they have responded. Our panelists will discuss the empirical and theoretical challenges emerging from the pandemic and discuss the relative merits of existing urban governance theories.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Kevin Ward University of Manchester 1 8:00 AM
Presenter Mildred E. Warner, Cornell University, Yuanshuo Xu*, Zhejiang University, Productivity divergence: state policy, corporate capture and labor power in theĀ US 15 8:01 AM
Presenter Mark Davidson*, Clark University, Kevin Ward, University of Manchester, Post-Recession Municipal Budgeting and Governance: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Budget Stress and Reform 14 8:16 AM
Presenter Yunji Kim*, Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University, Mildred E Warner, Cornell University, Austin M Aldag, Cornell University, Pragmatic Municipalism: US Local Government Responses to Fiscal Stress 15 8:30 AM
Presenter Sawyer Phinney*, University of Manchester, Financialization, Race and Municipal Debt: The Making of a Water Crisis in Baltimore, MD 15 8:45 AM
Presenter Amanda Kass*, University of Illinois At Chicago, Martin Danyluk*, University of Nottingham, Reimagining Geographies of Public Finance 15 9:00 AM

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