Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


John Mollenkopf

Subject Categories

Political Science | Public Policy


ARRA, Great Recession, Political Coalitions, Federal Funding, NYC Politics


Abstract: In 2009, the United States, and much of the world, experienced the largest economic decline since the Great Depression of the early 20th Century. New York City, the financial capital of the United States, was not immune. In early 2009, the federal government passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) shepherding a substantial infusion of federal funds to states and municipalities to stimulate local economies and stem the tide of potential job losses. At the same time, New York City was experiencing an historic mayoral election - the potential third term of Mayor Michael Bloomberg - made possible only by an eleventh hour vote by the City Council to extend term limits for the city council and mayor’s office beyond the two-term limit established by public referendum.

In 2009, these two historic events collided, a mayor seeking to maintain his political coalition under threat, and the allocation of a large influx of federal funds across the city. This study examines how federal funding available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was allocated with respect to the forging of political coalitions during the mayoral election of 2009. Specifically, it focuses on the hotly-contested borough of Brooklyn and investigates the potential for political maneuvering of federal funds towards key constituencies within the dominant political coalition. The study looks not only at the 2009 election year, but explores changes in the pattern of federal funding as political coalitions shifted in Brooklyn during the third term of the Bloomberg administration, contributing to the 2013 election of the first Democratic mayor in New York City in twenty years.