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.
|Introduction||Mark Davidson Clark University||5|
|Panelist||Mildred Warner Cornell University||10|
|Panelist||Kevin Ward University of Manchester||10|
|Panelist||Caroline Ponder University of Minnesota||10|
|Panelist||Mark Kear University of Arizona - Geography & Development||10|
|Panelist||Mia Gray University of Cambridge||10|
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