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.