Alexander Hertel-Fernandez
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

Associate Professor

Columbia University

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is associate professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University and a visiting fellow at Equitable Growth. His teaching and research focuses on understanding the intersection between politics and markets in the United States, the politics of policy design, and labor policy. He is co-director of Columbia’s Labor Lab, which uses social science tools in partnership with labor organizations to build worker power.

Hertel-Fernandez recently returned to Columbia after serving in the Biden-Harris Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. While at the Department of Labor, he led research and evaluation to support policymaking, including launching initiatives to study and address disparities in access to Unemployment Insurance; build a research base to understand how to improve worker power and organizing across the federal government; and to better measure job quality. He also led the department’s implementation of President Joe Biden’s historic executive order on racial equity. At the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Hertel-Fernandez led efforts to expand public participation and community engagement in the regulatory process, reduce burdens in access to government benefits, and served as the lead handling White House review of regulations and forms related to nutrition and food assistance, support for underserved farmers, and rural development.

Hertel-Fernandez is the author or co-author of three books, including most recently The American Political Economy: Politics, Markets, and Power (Cambridge, 2021, with Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson, and Kathleen Thelen), which lays out a new framework for assessing the evolution of distinctive political and economic institutions in the United States in comparative perspective. His previous book, State Capture (Oxford, 2019), examined how wealthy donors, businesses and trade associations, and political entrepreneurs built cross-state organizations to reshape policy across the United States—with implications for democracy, accountability, inequality, and political representation. His first book, Politics at Work (Oxford, 2018), examined changing patterns of political mobilization in the workplace.

Hertel-Fernandez received his B.A. in political science from Northwestern University and his A.M. and Ph.D. in government and social policy from Harvard University.

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Authored By Alexander Hertel-Fernandez


Measuring psychological burdens in access to U.S. social programs

Inequality & MobilityFamilies

New workplace surveillance bill would protect U.S. workers and address new technological risks

LaborInequality & Mobility

An Unemployment Insurance modernization bill now before the U.S. Senate is a much-needed step in the right direction

Inequality & MobilityLabor
Coronavirus Recession

Labor organizations and Unemployment Insurance: A virtuous circle supporting U.S. workers’ voices and reducing disparities in benefits

Coronavirus Recession

Why workers are engaging in collective action across the United States in response to the coronavirus crisis

Vision 2020

Aligning U.S. labor law with worker preferences for labor representation

LaborInequality & Mobility

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