COVID-19 and the Threat to Liberal Democratic Norms

COVID-19 and the Threat to Liberal Democratic Norms

by Sara B. Hobolt (London School of Economics and Political Science), Kevin Arceneaux (Temple University), Bert N. Bakker (University of Amsterdam) & Catherine E. De Vries (Bocconi University)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic governments have prohibited public gatherings, closed borders and restricted individuals’ movement to contain the spread of the virus. Such measures have sound public health foundations, but there is also a danger they erode liberal democratic institutions and norms. In this study, we use survey experimental evidence from the United Kingdom and the United States to examine if there are some rights that are more likely to be traded by the public for a sense of security than others; and if some individuals are more likely to support extreme encroachments on civil liberties to give the state a free hand in fighting the pandemic.