How COVID-19 has affected opinions toward government, markets

In a recent analysis published in Contemporary Economic Policy that compared survey responses by Americans before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants developed significantly less favorable opinions toward government and markets after the pandemic’s onset.

Participants increased support for bigger government and to a lesser extent, for redistribution to achieve greater social equity. The authors noted that there was no evidence that this will lead to an increase in support for specific redistributive policies, nor for government to play a larger role in specific functions. They also did not find significant differences in the effect of the pandemic on government and market attitudes by political ideology.

“We see increased support for government intervention in markets among those who, as a consequence of the pandemic, have come to believe more strongly that markets can cause harm, but given the overall gap we observe between general attitudes and support for specific policies or government functions, it’s unclear whether the attitudinal changes induced by the pandemic will be permanent or will impact future real-world behaviors. The sweeping changes to U.S. policy and the social safety net that came out of prior global crises suggest they may,” said corresponding author Sandra Goff, PhD, of Bates College.

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