Avey From Cane


Catastrophic deficiencies in the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to renewed discussion over federalism and its discontents. The divergence among state responses to the crisis in the absence of federal guidance has produced analyses of Trump’s unique, “narrow” sense of federalism, pronouncements of “a new era of federalism,” and hopes for a solidarity-minded “civic federalism.”

In a 1997 article, health law professor JAMES G. HODGE JR. analyzes the impact of state-centric “new federalism” jurisprudence on the government’s ability to realize public health goals. Hodge places new federalism in the context of decades of increasing intrusion by the federal government on states’ power over public health policy:

“The impact of new federalism on the field of public health law is seen in the history of public health regulation. The metamorphosis of public health regulation from purely local to predominantly national means resulted from increased federal presence in the field corresponding to a deemphasis on traditional federalism. It is an inescapable conclusion that an increased federal presence shifted public health goals. National public health priorities dominate local ones. New federalism restrains the federal intrusion on state public health powers by requiring Congress to operate within the constraints of the political process. As a result, state police powers exercised in the interest of public health are strengthened emphatically by the political process confining federal authority to enter the field.”

Full paper available here.

  • In an article published this April, Hodge reassesses federal vs. state public health powers in light of disparate responses to the pandemic: “Americans are left wondering, ‘which level of government is actually in charge here?’ In the face of a pandemic like Covid-19, the answer under principles of federalism is increasingly clear: neither.” Link.
  • “American federalism—with its fissures and fractures—haunts the state of emergency.” A March post from Phillip Rocco. Link. (See also Rocco’s recent post on fiscal federalism in Notes on the Crises.) Along similar lines: Rocco, Daniel Béland, and Alex Waddan on the fiscal barriers to pandemic response. Link. And Nicole Huberfeld, Sarah H. Gordon, and David K. Jones argues that the pandemic has magnified the state-level inequities fostered by federalism. Link.
  • For another view on the relationship between federalism and public health: A 2014 paper by Adam Varvel on the West Nile outbreak of 1999. Link. See also: A post-SARS policy brief on the impact of federalism on international health regulations. Link.


The politics of swap lines

In a 2019 paper, PhD Candidate in Government at Cornell ADITI SAHASRABUDDHE examines the Fed’s liquidity swap lines during the 2008 crisis to explain the selections of emerging market swap recipients.

From the paper:

“By evaluating transcripts of the Fed’s deliberations, this paper identifies strategic motivations underlying the Fed’s decision-making and argues the Fed was more likely to grant a swap to economies that shared its policy preferences for greater capital account openness. Further, the article argues that the influence of shared policy preferences was mediated by political and diplomatic considerations. The article concludes that the Fed strategically chose its emerging economy partners to reinforce economic alliances, particularly with those who experienced increased influence in economic governance post-2008.”

Link to the paper, link to Sahasrabuddhe’s website.

Each week we highlight great work from a graduate student, postdoc, or early-career professor. Have you read any excellent research recently that you’d like to see shared here? Send it our way: editorial@jainfamilyinstitute.org.

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  • “The late nineteenth century was an era in which capital accumulation increasingly guided federal policymaking, yielding a large and growing class of landless wage workers.” New on the Phenomenal World this week: historian Emma Teitelman on the evolution of property rights and the mining industry on the American frontier. Link.
  • We are hiring for an associate to work on JFI’s editorial team: on Phenomenal World, this newsletter, and across JFI’s projects. Read the job description here, circulate it widely, and email us with any questions about the position.
  • This past Tuesday, Yakov Feygin presented research on the global dollar system and prospects for a national endowment in the United States. Link to a recording, link to Feygin’s paper with Nils Gilman on building a national endowment. For more information and registration details for future seminars, click here.
  • “We find that black (Hispanic) households cut their consumption 50 (20) percent more than white households when faced with a similarly-sized income shock. Nearly all of this differential pass-through of income to consumption is explained, in a statistical sense, by differences in liquid wealth.” Fantastic new paper by Peter Ganong, Damon Jones, Pascal Noel, Fiona Greig, Diana Farrel, and Chris Wheat on wealth and consumption smoothing. Link.
  • João Ferreira et al review transformations in housing policy across Latin American cities over the last decade. Link.
  • A new report from Autonomy recommends a four-day work week as a strategy for targeting unemployment in the UK. Link. (For an overview of the German Kurzarbeit program, which inspired their approach, see this 2015 paper from the ILO.)
  • “It is not a matter, as in the 1970s, of defusing a nuclear stand-off or, as before 1914, a geoeconomic rivalry of the kind analyzed by Hobson. While we must do both these things, the novel challenge we face is how to disarm economic growth as a planetary threat.” Adam Tooze in the LRB on China, the US, and the twenty-first century. Link.
  • A new report from the Student Borrower Protection Center on the growth of “shadow student debt.” Link. h/t Laura
  • Construction workers’ wages in Sweden from 1831 to 1900. By Johan Ericsson and Jakob Molinder. Link.
  • “The transition from Lulism (2002–16) to Bolsonarism (2018–) was marked by the rise and fall of the economy and the collapse of the political system.” A paper based on ten-year longitudinal ethnography on the rise of conservative subjectivity in Brazil, by Rosana Pinheiro-Machado and Lucia Mury Scalco. Link. h/t Paul
  • Martin Ravallion on the randomistas. Link.
  • Gianluca Benigno, Luca Fornaro, and Martin Wolf on “the global financial resource curse.” Link.
  • “In April 1906 the San Francisco earthquake and fire caused damage equal to more than 1 percent of GNP. Although the real effect of this shock was localized, it had an international financial impact: large amounts of gold flowed into the country in autumn 1906 as foreign insurers paid claims on their San Francisco policies out of home funds. This outflow prompted the Bank of England to discriminate against American finance bills and, along with other European central banks, to raise interest rates. These policies pushed the United States into recession and set the stage for the Panic of 1907.” By Kerry Odell and Marc Weidenmier. Link.

Each week we highlight research from a graduate student, postdoc, or early-career professor. Send us recommendations: editorial@jainfamilyinstitute.org

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