Spanish Local Government and the Austerity Plan: In the Eye of the Perfect Storm

  • Carmen NavarroEmail author
  • Esther Pano
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


In the context of the severe crisis that Europe has faced in recent years, the countries of Southern Europe have been hit hardest by policies of austerity. These policies have taken on different guises depending on each country’s specific problems and strategies. The Spanish case is illustrative of the targeting of local authorities by central government to ensure a reduction in public spending. Under the watchwords of “financial sustainability” and “rationalisation”, a wide range of actions were implemented. Some meant a loss of local autonomy, as municipal entities underwent restructuring and service provisions were reformed. However, several years after the reforms were adopted, a current evaluation shows that local governments resisted many of these top-down actions, exhibiting a high degree of institutional resilience. This chapter analyses the variety of measures adopted, taking a twofold perspective: on the one hand, it examines the specific characteristics of the Spanish government’s austerity agenda, while, on the other, it documents carefully the reaction of local government authorities.


Local government Economic crisis Fiscal crisis Spanish politics Austerity policies 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Sciences and International RelationsAutonomous University of MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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