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The Iron Triangle of Urban Entrepreneurialism: The Political Economy of Urban Corruption in Spain

Moreno Zacarés, Javier (2020) 'The Iron Triangle of Urban Entrepreneurialism: The Political Economy of Urban Corruption in Spain.', Antipode, 52 (5). pp. 1351-1372.


Despite a cascade of corruption scandals over the last decade, the role of political corruption has yet to be accounted for in the scholarship on Spanish urban entrepreneurialism. This is an omission that extends to the broader literature on the topic as well. This paper looks at the theoretical causes of this neglect and explores ways of integrating corruption into the study of urban entrepreneurialism. To do so, it offers a systematic analysis of the role of clientelism in the political economy of Spanish inter-urban competition. Contrary to the existing literature, which at best explains away corruption as a logical outgrowth of intensified competition for real estate capital, this paper argues that corruption is rooted in a political structure that precedes the emergence of urban entrepreneurialism. This structure is identified as an “iron triangle”, a complex of colluding interests formed by the state, the real estate industry, and political parties.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Author. Antipode published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Antipode Foundation Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:25 March 2020
Date deposited:30 September 2021
Date of first online publication:11 May 2020
Date first made open access:30 September 2021

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