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O’Neill School, University of Miami launch dashboard comparing COVID-19 executive orders nationwide

Data from every state provides insight on how governors handled the pandemic

For Immediate Release Dec 9, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS – A new online database will help decision-makers, the public and researchers track changes implemented by state governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, research from the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI shed light on the many executive orders enacted nationwide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. That information is now available in the online dashboard.

The project tracked executive orders from every state, beginning in March through reopening. The research team coded more than 1,500 executive orders. The dashboard organizes and categorizes each state’s executive orders; ranks states by order stringency; and allows users to see how the information correlates with other issues, such as social distancing and the number of COVID-19 cases. It also allows users to filter information by various factors, such as age, income and governors’ political affiliations.

Assistant professors Peter Federman from the O’Neill School at IUPUI and Cali Curley from the University of Miami, along with two teams of student researchers, developed the dashboard to house all the information in one easily accessible website that serves as both a resource on state actions and a record of how state laws are changing because of COVID-19. The project recently received national recognition by winning the George V. Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge.

The team plans to use future funding to continue the project as states reopen as well as to look at the impact orders have on employment and equity around the country.

“We’re really focused on pulling out the critical pieces of information that are impacting people’s lives,” Federman said. “This project tracks how the state policy and legal environments are changing as the pandemic stretches on and as states move between reopening and closure.”

Policymakers, researchers and the public can use the data to see how governors handled the pandemic, whether governors issued orders or delegated the job to others within their administration, and where they’ve stood on key issues.

The team hopes to continue its work as states begin to put new restrictions in place in the months to come. Federman and Curley plan to use their $10,000 first-place prize to hire students to continue coding the executive orders. They also plan to start a second dashboard that follows the reopening of states.

“This data can inform the pandemic playbook for the future by building a sense of which executive orders work so we can refine the toolkit in the future,” Curley said. “We can learn lessons from these mandates about how we communicate to the public and what aspects of these orders work.”

About the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI

The O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI helps address the issues of modern society by preparing its students to lead the organizations that make and enforce laws, shape public policy, keep our nation safe, protect the planet, reduce disaster impact, and support fellow citizens. O’Neill faculty, their research and their work in the community focus on topics relating to criminal justice, civic leadership, media and public affairs, urban affairs, public safety management, nonprofit management, environmental sustainability, and public policy.

COVID-19 resources for journalists

Looking for more Indiana University expertise related to the novel coronavirus? Find the latest list of IU scientists, researchers and clinicians who are available to discuss a wide range of topics, such as COVID-19’s impacts on our physical and mental health, the economy, politics, globalization, and more. This resource is updated as we identify more experts to share with the media, so please check back often.

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O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

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