Covid-19 and Europeans' Political Attitudes

by Gianmarco Daniele (Bocconi and Università di Milano), Andrea Martinangeli (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance), Francesco Passarelli (Università di Torino and Bocconi), Willem Sas (University of Stirling, KU Leuven) Lisa Windsteiger (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance)

The ongoing Coronavirus epidemic (COVID–19) represents an extraordinary shock to national and supra-national governments. States are mobilizing unprecedented resources to limit the spread of COVID-19 (health effects) and to prevent an economic downturn (economic effects). On the other hand, citizens are simultaneously facing the risk of getting sick, of being restricted in terms of mobility or autonomy, and of bearing dramatic economic costs. In this project we aim to understand how COVID-19 shapes the EU citizens’ political attitudes. Our focus will be on both national and European institutions. Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis is a disruptive external threat requiring common reactions and strong state-capacity across all levels of government. People’s mobility needs to be limited in order to curb the spread of the virus (externality problem), yet the resulting economic cost is different across regions, sectors and individuals. Redistribution or stabilization could then be a necessary policy response. Moreover, the severe sudden stop to economic activities will require large expansionary fiscal policy to smooth consumption over time and to prevent huge losses of production capacity. What are people’s attitudes regarding these policies? Do they expect them to be implemented mainly at national level or at the European one? Do they expect more solidarity between rich and poor, or amongst EU member countries? Will people become more or less nationalistic? Do they want policy decisions to be more widely shared, or they prefer them to be taken by a strong leader? Are their attitudes related to the severity of COVID-19 crisis in their home country? In order to answer the above questions, we will conduct survey experiments.