The United States has faced four salient pandemics in the twenty-first century: H1N1 or Swine Flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014, Zika in 2017, and COVID-19 in 2020. Each pandemic garnered significant public attention, prompting Congress to act by allocating emergency funds to states, localities, and federal agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services. This article asks: during pandemics, do actors in the Executive Branch continue to pursue parochial distributions of much needed funds? How, if at all, do the exigencies related to public health emergencies alter the distributive outputs of political institutions? Using spending data pursuant to four pandemics from eight federal agencies, I show that pandemic spending is less parochial than spending during normal times. I also contrast pandemic spending with other public health spending to isolate the effect of pandemics from general public health spending.
Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 4 Special issue - The Political Economy of Pandemics, Part I
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