Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

hertel-fernandez.alexander's picture

PhD Candidate in Government and Social Policy, and Fellow in Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy, Harvard University

CGIS Knafel Building, Rm. K154
1737 Cambridge St
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
(765) 430-2063

Expertise & Civic Involvements

Hertel-Fernandez’s research currently focuses on the Democratic Party and the politics of federal tax policy; the sustainability of social insurance programs, with an emphasis on unemployment insurance and Social Security; and mobilization of business interests in state politics. Hertel-Fernandez is a member of the Roosevelt Institute Pipeline’s Boston Chapter, and is a former Board Member of the National New Deal Preservation Association.

SSN Briefs

Key Publications

  • "Business Associations, Conservative Networks, and the Ongoing Republican War over Medicaid Expansion" (with Theda Skocpol and Daniel Lynch). Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law (forthcoming).
    Argues that GOP-leaning or dominated states have been most likely to embrace the expansion when organized business support outweighs counterpressures from conservative networks.
  • "Small Business Pressures and Democratic Party Ambivalence in U.S. Tax Politics" (with Theda Skocpol). Studies in American Political Development (forthcoming).
    Compares debates over the inception and renewal of the Bush tax cuts and argues how small business organizations and constituencies have divided Democrats on tax issues. Identifies the mechanisms that have propelled tax resistance in contemporary U.S. politics, and contributes to theoretical understandings of the ways in which political parties are influenced by policy feedbacks and by coalitions of policy-driven organized economic interests.
  • "Funding the State Policy Battleground: The Role of Foundations and Firms," Duke University Symposium on Philanthropy, Politics, and Democracy, January, 2015.
    Investigates interactions between funders, policy advocates, and political entrepreneurs on the left and the right to explore how the two major parties coordinate policy action at the state level.
  • "Who Passes Business’s ‘Model Bills’? Policy Capacity and Corporate Influence in U.S. State Politics" Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 3 (2014).
    Argues that ALEC provides private policy capacity to state legislators who would otherwise lack such support, and relatedly, that low state policy capacity may favor certain organized interests over others - namely the business interests affiliated with ALEC.
  • "Dismantling Policy through Fiscal Constriction: Examining the Erosion in State Unemployment Insurance Finances" Social Service Review 87, no. 3 (2013).
    Examines the long-run decline in UI finances and concludes that changes in UI taxes are associated with the largest declines in state finances. Examines why more states have not pursued reforms to strengthen UI finances and finds that opponents of more generous UI benefits have generally succeeded in preventing such measures, thus constricting UI finances and gradually retrenching benefits.
  • A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security (with Anna Turner and Kathryn Edwards) (Economic Policy Institute, 2011).
    Presents a comprehensive guide to Social Security, written by young authors for young people.

Media Contributions

Talks and Briefings

  • "Business Power and Preferences Student Workshop," Seminar on the State and Capitalism Since 1800, November 2012.
  • "Tax Politics and Policy Workshop," Harvard Multidisciplinary Program on Inequality and Social Policy, October 2012.
  • "A New Deal for Young Adults," National Academy of Social Insurance Capitol Hill Briefing on Social Security Student Benefits, May 2010.