Spatial rescaling, devolution and the future of social welfare

Michael Keating

in Social Policy Review 21

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9781847423733
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303480 | DOI:
Spatial rescaling, devolution and the future of social welfare

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This chapter discusses processes of regional devolution. It opines that the concept of the nation has been important in the development of welfare states, since it has often formed at least part of the basis for social solidarity and a willingness to engage in redistribution. It argues that sub-state regions or nations within states (such as those of the UK) may be a robust basis for social solidarity that challenges the assumption of this role by the central state. It opines that this can raise fears of growing inequalities between regions, as well as the spectre of ‘the race to the bottom’ as territories compete to attract mobile capital and reduce expensive social provision. It notes, however, that regions may also provide space for innovation and experimentation in social provision, providing scope for a ‘race to the top’ as politicians respond to the preferences of the citizens.

Keywords: regional devolution; nation; welfare states; social solidarity; redistribution; sub-state regions; race to the bottom; mobile capital; race to the top

Chapter.  6462 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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