Leah Downey is a visiting doctoral researcher at SPERI from Harvard University. Leah’s research centres on the relationship between democracy and macroeconomic policymaking. Her work stems from the basic observation that economic theory is fundamentally a form of political philosophy since how a society governs itself and how it organises production are structurally intertwined. 

Leah’s doctoral research explores the democratic politics of monetary policy. Contributing to democratic theory she develops a theory of the relationship between the health of a democracy over time and its approach to delegating political power. Applying this theory to monetary policy in the United States, Leah’s dissertation questions the contemporary monetary policy governance regime and proposes alternatives.

Further information about Leah can be found at www.leahrosedowney.com

Research Interests

Leah’s research interests include: the political theory of policymaking, democratic theories of governance, the political theory of the administrative state, the role of time in public policymaking, and the history of economic thought.

Key Publications


Book chapters

  • “Governing Money Democratically: Re-chartering the Federal Reserve” in A Political Economy of Justice, eds. D. Allen, Y. Benkler, R. Henderson, forthcoming with University of Chicago Press 

Working papers

  • “Central Bank Independence: A Question for the Legislature”
  • “It’s all Money Creation: Federal Credit Programs as Monetary Policy”
  • Money and Freedom: Towards a Political Theory of Monetary Governance” with Benjamin Braun