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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper
Austerity States, Institutional Dismantling and the Governance of Sub-National Economic Development: The Demise of the Regional Development Agencies in England
Mike Coombes, Peter O'Brien, Andy Pike and John Tomaney August 2016
Paper No' SERCDP0206:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: H70; O10; O20; R58

Tags: austerity; institutions; the state; governance; economic development; regional development agencies; england

Contributing to interpretations of the governance geographies of austerity, the paper explains how, why and in what forms austerity states are constructed by actors in particular political-economic contexts and geographical and temporal settings, how and by whom they are articulated and pursued, and how they are worked through public policy and institutional and territorial architectures. Empirically, the focus is explaining the UK Government and its abolition and closure of the Regional Development Agencies in England. First, a more qualitative and plural conception of austerity states is developed to question singular and/or monolithic notions of state types and their transitions, and to better reflect the particularities of how state projects are configured and unfolded by actors within political-economic variegations of capitalism. Second, a more geographically sensitive approach and appreciation of (re)scaling are detailed to incorporate and extend beyond the predominantly national frame and decentralising narratives deployed in current accounts. Last, a historically literate interpretation of institutional dismantling is advanced better to explain the politics and restructuring of institutional landscapes by actors within austerity states.