Resource 

Subsidies, Uneven Development, and the Race to the Bottom

Abstract:

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Through this set of materials students listen to an engaging interview about detailed reporting on local subsidies and explore an interactive map revealing local subsidy policies. The materials include a lecture outline for teaching these concepts with reference to works of relevant urban sociologists. Uneven development is often a critical concept in urban sociology courses, and is used to discuss how spatial inequality emerges from the unequal distribution of capital across space. Subsidies are policies which create incentives for local investment and can contribute to these inequalities. This set of materials explores how policy, especially subsidies, can exacerbate uneven development by creating a “race to the bottom” in which the incentives provided may reduce the overall benefit of increased investment for localities offering subsidies. These materials illustrate the writings of Engels, Lefebvre, and Harvey on uneven patterns of capital investment, and Logan and Molotch on growth coalition activities. Because the interactive materials guide students to engage with information about the subsidy policies of their local governments, many students become very engaged with the material and more interested in spatial inequality and the policy decisions of their representatives. The steps of this material are: 1) Students read assigned urban sociological readings on uneven development and capital accumulation. 2) Instructor delivers in-class lecture and discussion on uneven development, related readings, and preview of subsidies assignment. 3) Students listen to interview with Louise Story about her reporting on subsidies on Fresh Air, explore interactive map from New York Times and listen to Planet Money podcast episode “Why Did the...

Details:

Resource Type(s):
Assignment, Audio, Class Activity, Lecture, PowerPoint, Website 
Author(s):
Colby King, Bridgewater State University 
Date Published:
8/28/2017 
Subject Area:
Urban Sociology 
Class Level:
College 200 
Class Size:
Any 
Language:
English 


Usage Notes:

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Attached as a document.

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Students will be able to define the concepts of uneven development and describe relevant scholarship on the topic.
Assessment 1:
This goal may be assessed with in-class discussion at the end of the lecture, or short answer essay questions as outlined on the last slides of the lecture, as well as in their writing on the Subsidies Assignment.
Goal 2:
Students will be able to explain what subsidies are and how they can contribute to uneven development patterns.
Assessment 2:
This goal is assessed through student responses to short answer essay questions in the Subsidies Assignment and in-class discussion.
Goal 3:
Students will be able to draw connections between uneven development patterns and subsidy policy using specific real world examples, and will analyze data comparing the impact of subsidy policies across multiple localities, including their own.
Assessment 3:
This goal is assessed through student responses to short answer essay questions in the Subsidies Assignment and in-class discussion.

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Subsidies, Uneven Development, and the Race to the Bottom.docx
Uneven Development and Subsidies.pptx