In the piece, Fishback and his co-author, Kris James Mitchener from Santa Clara University, propose a new program to combat both the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment: CoVid Contactors. In this program, individuals currently receiving the additional federal unemployment subsidy of $600 per week could volunteer to help public health officials with contact tracing—interviewing contacts of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus to help determine whether testing or self-quarantining is required.
“As states begin to open up their economies on a haphazard basis, the U.S. finds itself at a critical juncture in its fight against the coronavirus,” say the authors. “The CVC plan provides needed human resources to address an urgent public health priority in a sensible way and without adding to the economic burden states are bearing from the pandemic.”
Fishback joined the Eller College of Management as associate professor in 1990 after teaching at the University of Georgia and was appointed the Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics in 2010. His research areas of interest are the political economy of Roosevelt’s New Deal during the 1930s, examining both the determinants of New Deal spending and loans and their impact on local economies throughout the U.S. He also is interested in state labor legislation during the Progressive Era, the American Economy during World War II and government policy and technology.