Weathering the perfect storm? Austerity and institutional resilience in local government

Vivien Lowndes*, Kerry Mccaughie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


English local authorities face a combination of deep budget cuts and sharp increases in citizen demand, linked to the costs of recession and demographic changes. Evidence from case study research shows the dominance of cost-cutting and efficiency measures, as in previous periods of austerity. But creative approaches to service redesign are also emerging as the crisis deepens, based upon pragmatic politics and institutional bricolage. While the absence of radical new ideas and overt political conflict is surprising, local government reveals a remarkable capacity to reinvent its institutional forms to weather what amounts to a 'perfect storm'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-549
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy and politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Austerity
  • Institutional change
  • Local government
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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