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Place equality regimes in Swiss metropolitan areas


Kübler, Daniel; Rochat, Philippe; Scheuss, Urs (2012). Place equality regimes in Swiss metropolitan areas. In: World Congress of the International Political Science Association, Madrid, 8 July 2012 - 12 July 2012.

Abstract

Due to a limited Welfare State, inequalities of income in Switzerland are comparatively high in European comparison. Moreover, these income inequalities have a very strong spatial dimension. Wealth and poverty concentrate in the major metropolitan areas of the county, displaying complex patterns of city-suburb disparities. As the proportions of people and activities in urban areas increase, metropolitan inequalities become a new challenge for the democratic Welfare State. Against this background, the paper examines place equality regimes in seven large metropolitan areas in Switzerland. First we assess spatial disparities within and across the metropolitan areas under scrutiny. Second we examine regional differences in government policies to address spatial and social inequalities, showing that fiscal equalisation as well as social policies are the two main vectors for such policies. Third, we examine place equality regimes across the seven metropolitan areas, focusing on the distribution of municipal revenues and expenditures within them. We find a strong correlation between inequality patterns in resident wealth on the one hand, and inequality patterns in municipal revenues and expenditures on the other hand. However, while core-cities seem to be provided with financial resources that are commensurate with high levels of social hardship, this is not the case for poor suburbs. In poor suburbs, the low share of redistributive expenditures in the municipal budget is striking. Our evidence suggest that this situation is linked to the political ecology of the metropolis, where right-wing political preferences in poor suburbs lead to limited social policy engagement by the municipal government.

Abstract

Due to a limited Welfare State, inequalities of income in Switzerland are comparatively high in European comparison. Moreover, these income inequalities have a very strong spatial dimension. Wealth and poverty concentrate in the major metropolitan areas of the county, displaying complex patterns of city-suburb disparities. As the proportions of people and activities in urban areas increase, metropolitan inequalities become a new challenge for the democratic Welfare State. Against this background, the paper examines place equality regimes in seven large metropolitan areas in Switzerland. First we assess spatial disparities within and across the metropolitan areas under scrutiny. Second we examine regional differences in government policies to address spatial and social inequalities, showing that fiscal equalisation as well as social policies are the two main vectors for such policies. Third, we examine place equality regimes across the seven metropolitan areas, focusing on the distribution of municipal revenues and expenditures within them. We find a strong correlation between inequality patterns in resident wealth on the one hand, and inequality patterns in municipal revenues and expenditures on the other hand. However, while core-cities seem to be provided with financial resources that are commensurate with high levels of social hardship, this is not the case for poor suburbs. In poor suburbs, the low share of redistributive expenditures in the municipal budget is striking. Our evidence suggest that this situation is linked to the political ecology of the metropolis, where right-wing political preferences in poor suburbs lead to limited social policy engagement by the municipal government.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Event End Date:12 July 2012
Deposited On:15 Feb 2013 11:00
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:30

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