IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Territorial politics in hard times: the welfare state under pressure in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom


  • Scott Greer


The author argues that the design of decentralized political institutions shapes the effect of economic crisis on the welfare state. He proposes a simple framework for understanding the effects of crisis on areas under the responsibility of regional governments: their responses and mediating effects will vary with the financial system, degree of regional input into central decisions, and legal framework. Further, the ways in which territorial political institutions channel economic pressures should lead to changing territorial politics as the relative resources and credibility of governments change. The author discusses the influence of territorial political institutions on responses to economic crisis in Germany, Spain, and the UK. It is concluded that Germany is most likely to proceed unchanged, Spain might see the hardest landing due to the difficult finances of many regional governments, and devolution in the UK is economically sustainable and limits negative welfare-state effects but might be politically unsustainable. The conclusion suggests that welfare-state analysis should take more account of specific territorial political institutions, that further analysis should include local government, and that economic pressure might reshape territorial politics in at least some countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Greer, 2010. "Territorial politics in hard times: the welfare state under pressure in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(3), pages 405-419, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirc:v:28:y:2010:i:3:p:405-419

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: abstract
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pio:envirc:v:28:y:2010:i:3:p:405-419. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Neil Hammond). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.