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
Date Written: December 16, 2020
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
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