When Economic and Health Crises Collide: The Effect of COVID-19 on Political Attitudes

43 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2020 Last revised: 25 Jan 2021

See all articles by Gianmarco Daniele

Gianmarco Daniele

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Andrea FM Martinangeli

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Francesco Passarelli

Harvard University

Willem Sas

University of Stirling - Department of Economics; KU Leuven - Department of Economics

Lisa Windsteiger

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Date Written: December 16, 2020

Abstract

To investigate how a unique combination of health and economic crises can shape political attitudes, we conducted a large online survey experiment during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic (June). With a randomised survey flow we varied whether respondents are given COVID-related treatment questions. This design allows us to analyse health and economic effects separately, as well as a national unity component. We find that the crisis has severely undermined trust in politicians, the media and the EU, and has sapped support for social welfare spending financed by taxes. We also uncover a rallying effect around (scientific) expertise and competence, combined with populist policies losing ground. Lastly, we show that the negative effects are mostly due to economic insecurity, whilst the rallying effects are due to health concerns and beliefs in the importance of national unity to navigate the crisis.

Keywords: COVID-19 , Institutional Trust, Political Attitudes, Online Survey Experiment, European Union, Welfare, Taxation, Populism

JEL Classification: D72, H51, H53, H55, O52, P52

Suggested Citation

Daniele, Gianmarco and Martinangeli, Andrea and Passarelli, Francesco and Sas, Willem and Windsteiger, Lisa, When Economic and Health Crises Collide: The Effect of COVID-19 on Political Attitudes (December 16, 2020). Working Paper of the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance No. 2020-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3750181 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3750181

Gianmarco Daniele

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 191
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Andrea Martinangeli (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany

Francesco Passarelli

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Willem Sas

University of Stirling - Department of Economics ( email )

Stirling, FK9 4LA
United Kingdom

KU Leuven - Department of Economics ( email )

Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Lisa Windsteiger

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany

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