Importing or Constructing Austerity? Global Reforms and Local Implementation as a Case of Policy Transfer

  • Andrea LippiEmail author
  • Theodore N. Tsekos
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


The austerity agenda has been adopted by states under the pressure of influential supranational agencies and authoritative opinion makers. Consequently, austerity programmes took the shape of mandatory measures or recommended fiscal instruments aiming at reducing fiscal deficits and, thus, restricting public spending. Such fiscal tools and measures ‘travel’ across different milieus and levels of government, being subject to isomorphic change, and do not necessarily prove always successful. This observation allows a reasoning about the nature of transfer and its expected and unexpected effects. This chapter scrutinizes the transfer of austerity policies to understand if it can be considered as an external import, a domestic construction, or a mix between external demands and local responses. The contribution reviews the meanings of the concept of austerity seen as semantic umbrella, a global discourse and local practice, a window of opportunity, a multilevel problem, a set of strategies and instruments. The taxonomies and dichotomies about the potential alternatives (i.e. strict fiscal measures vs. broader structural reforms) and subsequent impacts are presented and discussed.


Policy transfer Austerity strategies Austerity instruments Types of austerity Fiscal politics 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Social SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFirenzeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Business and Public AdministrationTechnological Education Institute of PeloponneseKalamataGreece

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