When Distrust Goes Viral – Causal Effects of Covid-19 on European Political Attitudes

43 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2020

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 Covid-19 is shaping the way Europeans think about politicians and institutions, we conducted a large online survey experiment in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands during the first wave of the epidemic (June). We included outcome questions on trust, voting intentions, redistribution, and the EU. With a randomised survey flow we varied whether respondents are given Covid-related treatment questions first, before answering the outcome questions. With this design we can separate the health and economic dimensions of the crisis, as well as a potential ‘rally around the flag’ component. We find that the crisis has severely undermined trust in institutions and the media, and has eroded support for the EU and social welfare spending financed by taxes. This is mainly due to economic insecurity, but also because of health concerns. A rallying effect around (scientific) expertise combined with populist policies losing ground forms the other side of this coin, and suggests a rising demand for competent leadership.

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 Distrust Goes Viral – Causal Effects of Covid-19 on European 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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