Preemption and Its Impact on Policy Responses to COVID-19

Brief

Preemption and Its Impact on Policy Responses to COVID-19

September 23, 2020

Abstract

This brief explores whether there is a relationship between a state's general tendency to preempt municipal laws and the extent of policymakers’ responses to COVID-19. To examine this, we compare data on the frequency of COVID-19 policymaking to an index measuring state preemption across multiple policy areas. We find that, in states with higher levels of preemption, there are fewer COVID-19-related policies enacted at either the municipal (controlling for population) or state level. This relationship varies by policy type. For instance, municipal policies aimed at education and child care, mobility and transit, and prevention and 'flattening the curve' tended to be less common in states that preempted more broadly, while policies focused on communications were more common in states that preempted more broadly.

Centers

Cross-Center Initiative

Cross-Center Initiative: 
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