Charts of the Week: Chinese tech, social distancing, aid to states

Foot traffic by state

In this week’s Charts of the Week, a mix of charts from recent Brookings research, including China’s technology, social distancing, and aid to states.

Growing demand for China’s global surveillance technology


In a new paper from the Global China Initiative, part of a release focused on China’s growing technological prowess worldwide, Sheena Chestnut Greitens notes that “Chinese surveillance and public security technology platforms have been adopted in at least 80 countries since 2008. The majority of these adoptions have occurred in the last several years.” She offers recommendations on how U.S. policymakers should address this phenomenon and the questions it raises.

DO WE listen to state or national government when it comes to social distancing?

Foot traffic by stateSarah Nazu and Richard Reeves analyze foot traffic data to understand the impact that different federal and state directives on social distancing, including business closures, had on individual’s movement behavior—i.e., did people respond more to the federal or state directives? “It is not possible to separate out the impact on movement of different directives issued at different times at different levels of government – counties, cities, states as well as at the Federal level,” they write, “But the data we have analyzed here suggest that national messaging has a national impact, independent of state-level directives.”

The next COVID-19 relief bill must include massive, BUT TAILORED, aid to states

Map 2

Beyond the human toll of the coronavirus pandemic, state and local governments are entering a crisis in their financing. “Only massive federal aid to states and localities—to the tune of $700 billion to $1 trillion over the next 18 months,” Mark Muro argues, “will be sufficient to blunt the coming service cuts and layoffs as well as keep regional fiscal contractions from deepening the crisis and slowing the recovery.” But this aid must be “crafted to respond to the likely large variations among states’ economic conditions as the recession deepens.”