The Center for Engaged Scholarship, a project of Community Initiatives, awarded our four inaugural fellows $25,000 each in support of the writing of their Ph.D dissertations.
Below you can read a little about their submitted projects:
Epidemic Preparedness in the Age of Chronic Illness: Public Health and Welfare Politics in the United States, 1965-2000
This project examines federal social welfare and healthcare policy during the 1970s into the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. While the early Medicare and Medicaid programs sought to expand healthcare to vulnerable groups, stagflation worried policymakers. As the 1970s continued, cost containment trumped access to the nation's healthcare system. The increasing commonness of chronic disease also furthered an ideology of individualism and personal responsibility that obscured the communal threat from infectious diseases. A history of health planning from the Johnson to Clinton administrations is interwoven with New York City’s municipal hospitals to illustrate the translation of federal policies on the ground. This project shows how the AIDS epidemic is better understood within the context of 1970s austerity, which exacerbated inequality and undermined the nation’s disaster preparedness. This project combines the history of public policy, health institutions, and grassroots advocacy to assess the consequences of healthcare’s tenuous place within the welfare state.
Mobile Minimum Wage Policies and Labor Union Campaigns in the U.S.
The Fight for $15 is a rapidly growing movement for higher minimum wages and on-the-job rights for low-wage workers. My dissertation investigates the strategic and practical mechanisms through which labor unions, progressive worker and community organizations, and policy makers are spreading $15/hour minimum wages throughout the U.S. Because the diffusion of these campaigns across the U.S. is still in process, an important and brief window is currently open for the empirical investigation of the spatial strategies employed by labor organizations, the variation of these strategies across locations, and the generalized patterns of movement of minimum wage increases as they proliferate throughout the country. This project takes the form of a three-part comparative case study, investigating both the connective flows and moments of disjuncture between the sites in which campaigns for higher minimum wages have been executed.
Environmental Outcomes in Multiple Spatial Scales
My dissertation research project aims to offer multilevel accounts of environmental inequalities that highlight both neighborhood characteristics and broader social contexts where neighborhoods are embedded. In particular, I examine how firms, governments, and environmental movement organizations shape geographic variation in chemical hazards released from industrial facilities in the US between 2000 and 2010. Environmental justice scholars focusing on the racial and socioeconomic composition of neighborhoods have demonstrated disproportionate environmental burden imposed on disadvantaged social groups. My dissertation extends this line of research by investigating large-scale determinants of local environmental outcomes. I employ multilevel modeling, spatial data analysis techniques, and geographic information systems to analyze datasets obtained from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Census Bureau, Dun and Bradstreet, and other multiple sources. By elucidating neighborhood- and macro-level mechanisms shaping local environmental outcomes, my dissertation will generate policy implications for improving environmental qualities and for addressing environmental inequalities.
How Financial Power Really Works: Unpacking the Black Box of Monetary Policymaking and Central Banks’ Ties to Finance
The 2008 Global Financial Crisis has revealed the dramatic rise of finance in the post-Bretton Woods era. Despite scholars’ consensus about financiers’ influence over economic policymaking, we still know very little about how policymakers interact with financial interests. My dissertation focuses on the relationship between central banks in emerging economies and the financial community in order to understand how financial power operates. Specifically, I aim to answer two sets of questions: (1) To what extent does empirical evidence support claims that the financial community has growing influence over the central bank? (2) What is the process of monetary policymaking? What are the conditions under which policymakers conform to, or deviate from, financial interests? I answer these questions by comparing the policies of two central banks in emerging economies over time (pre- and post-the Global Financial Crisis): the South African Reserve Bank and the Turkish Central Bank. I operationalize and measure the financial community’s influence over central bank decisions using financial data on swap agreements. I draw on public texts and over 120 semi-structured interviews with central bankers, and financiers in South Africa, Turkey, and London in order to unpack the relations between the central banks and the financial community.