Work in Progress

Ainsley, Caitlin. 2020. “Public Opinion and Federal Reserve Senate Confirmation Politics.”

Central bank appointments to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors are becoming increasingly politicized. While these supposedly apolitical appointments have historically received nearly unanimous votes in the final phase of Senate confirmation, this norm of deference has been replaced by an increasingly politicized process with confirmation votes falling on party lines. This paper examines this trend towards the politicization of central bank appointments and highlights the consequences of public opinion for the contentiousness of Senate confirmations. Drawing on fifteen years of national polling data, I produce novel estimates of state-level public opinion by employing dynamic multi-level regression with post-stratification. This state-level public opinion data is then used to examine the relationship between home-state support for the Fed and the probability Senators support confirmation. The empirical findings are connected to larger debates surrounding representation, central bank independence, and the politicization of the monetary policymaking process.

Ainsley, Caitlin. 2019. “Mobile Money and the Redistributive Consequences of Currency Regulation.”

At the forefront of international and state initiatives to promote financial inclusion is the adoption of digital payments infrastructure to facilitate the use of ``mobile money'' by unbanked populations. While the potential for such technology to better facilitate exchange in markets lacking formal financial institutions is widely acknowledged, I argue the success of these programs is contingent on the appropriate regulation by states and their central banks. In this paper, I demonstrate with a search theoretic model of exchange the distributive consequences of central bank regulations of mobile money. Specifically, I argue absent interoperability regulations to facilitate conversion across mobile money platforms and with traditional financial institutions, mobile money adoption in unbanked regions can exacerbate the economic disparities and worsen the economic conditions of precisely the populations it seeks to benefit. To examine this relationship empirically, I turn to district-level economic and survey data on mobile money usage throughout India in 2017.