Solidarity and Fairness in Times of Crisis
68 Pages Posted: 15 May 2020
Date Written: May 14, 2020
In a large-scale pre-registered survey experiment with a representative sample of more than 8,000 Americans, we examine how the COVID-19 pandemic causally affects people’s solidarity and fairness. We randomly manipulate whether respondents are asked general questions about the crisis before answering moral questions. By making the pandemic particularly salient for treated respondents, we causally identify how the crisis changes moral views. We find that the crisis makes respondents more willing to prioritize society’s problems over their own problems, but also more tolerant of inequalities due to luck. We show that people’s moral views are strongly associated with their policy preferences for redistribution. The findings suggest that the pandemic may alter the moral and political landscape in the United States and, consequently, the support for redistribution and welfare policies.
Keywords: Fairness, inequality, COVID-19
JEL Classification: D63, D64
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation