Solidarities, Fairness, and Economic Governance in Advanced Capitalism: The Cases of COVID-19 Responses in Germany and the United States
24 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 16, 2021
This paper addresses the theoretical question of how competing models of social and economic solidarity shape patterns of economic governance in periods of economic crisis. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a signal case, we seek to understand how changes in public opinion in response to similar social and economic shocks are informed by deeper ideational structures among citizens relating to their capacity for empathy, mutual support, and willingness to support and trust public policy interventions. Drawing on scholarly literatures related to moral economies and the social embeddedness of economic relationships, we undertake an empirical study of how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped patterns of support for social and economic policies. We focus on Germany and the United States, countries with widely divergent modes of integration of capitalist markets and, therefore, potentially different levels of support for particular kinds of policy responses. We trace American and German policy responses since March 2020 across a number of domains, complemented by a systematic analysis of public opinion in the two countries, drawing from fifteen different sources of public-opinion data, in order to assess the pandemic’s effects on public support for individualized and collectively-oriented policy responses.
Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; Public Policy; Public Opinion; Economic Policy; Social Policy; Germany; USA
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