Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 1 > Issue 4

Local Political Institutions and First-Mover Policy Responses to COVID-19

Mirya R. Holman, Tulane University, USA, , Emily M. Farris, Texas Christian University, USA, , Jane Lawrence Sumner, University of Minnesota, USA,
Suggested Citation
Mirya R. Holman, Emily M. Farris and Jane Lawrence Sumner (2020), "Local Political Institutions and First-Mover Policy Responses to COVID-19", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 1: No. 4, pp 523-541.

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2020
© 2020 M. R. Holman, E. M. Farris, and J. L. Sumner
Urban Politics,  Public Policy,  Federalism,  State politics
COVIDlocal governmentspolicy responsepartisanshipfiscal capacityfederalism


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In this article:
Local Policymaking in the United States 
Local Responses to COVID 
Data and Methods 


In the United States, the federal government's slow response to the COVID-19 pandemic and localized instances of outbreaks devolved initial policy responses to state and local governments. But not all local governments reacted in equal measure. Was a delayed response in cities due simply to timing of infections, or did politics and political institutions play a role? We use crowd-sourced data to assess local governments' policy responses to the pandemic amidst escalating cases and a scattershot approach to policymaking. Combining a unique dataset of the presence of local shelter-in-place, business closure, and gathering size policies with data on local COVID cases, ideology, partisanship, and institutional capacity, we find that evidence that federalism, demand, and ideology influence local governments' COVID-19 policy responses.



Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 4 Special issue - The Political Economy of Pandemics, Part I
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.