Current research projects
- The likely impacts of COVID-19 on local budgets, including cities, counties, and school districts.
- The impacts of technology and artificial intelligence on public sector services and jobs
- The displacement of fiscal and economic risk onto local governments, examining the complexity of financial instruments used by cities, forms of revenue privatization, and the growing structural fiscal precarity of U.S. cities.
- The role of municipal debt in urban fiscal crisis that documents the growing complexity of municipal financial instruments, and the rising influence of ratings agencies on cities’ access to capital and revenue.
- The uneven funding of public education in California, including education foundations, parcel taxes, and state funding formulas
- Los Angeles County workforce development alignment. Conducted a year-long study for the County Chief Executive Office to evaluate how workforce development services in the county were aligned. (Report submitted to Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors)
- Case studies of the Great Recession’s impact on economic development strategies and politics in U.S. cities. (Article under review with Urban Affairs Review)
- Dissertation: The dominant narratives of urban fiscal crisis and the implementation of austerity budgets and neoliberal governance in U.S. cities since 2000. I argue that urban fiscal crisis and the naturalization of urban austerity are restructuring the city’s policy limits, its obligations, and the relationship between finance and democracy. Much like New York’s 1975 near-bankruptcy, Detroit’s 2014 bankruptcy serves as a cautionary, inflammatory narrative that fuels a shift in fiscal policy by generalizing ideas of necessity, scarcity, and absence of alternatives. Using government finance data and financial audits, I describe the histories of retrenchment and entrepreneurial urbanism in four U.S. cities: Detroit, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Jose. I studied the narratives of ratings agencies, policy-makers, and the financial press in calling for disciplinary policies: state takeover, pension “reform,” and fiscal monitoring.