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Coronavirus fiscal policy in the United States: Lessons from feminist political economy

Using the United States’ fiscal response to COVID-19 in March and April 2020 as a case study, this paper explores the implications the US coronavirus legislation had for the societal distribution of responsibility for social reproduction among US households, employers, and the federal government – and the legislation’s effect on women and racialized minorities. It builds on feminist political economy research that argues that, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis and stagnating conditions for workers in the US had increased the role of households and the US government in social reproduction relative to the contribution of employers. The paper argues that the US federal government has responded to the COVID-19 crisis through an infusion of income support, but it has failed to increase its long-term socially reproductive commitments and has not addressed the intensified socially reproductive burden placed on households or the declining role of employers in working-class social reproduction.


  • The COVID-19 crisis prompted the US Congress to spend an historic US$3 trillion on relief.

  • Sixty-nine percent of coronavirus spending was allocated to social reproduction purposes.

  • Congress responded more to the collapse of aggregate demand than to the health crisis.

  • Federal aid improved the livelihood of some groups, while disadvantaging others.

  • The bills left low-wage workers, women, and minorities in vulnerable positions.

Moos, K. A. (2021). Coronavirus Fiscal Policy in the United States: Lessons from Feminist Political Economy. Feminist Economics, 1-17.

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