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The political scar of epidemics

Eichengreen, Barry, Saka, Orkun and Aksoy, Cevat (2022) The political scar of epidemics. The Economic Journal. ISSN 0013-0133 (In Press)

[img] Text (Eichengreen Saka Aksoy (2022)) - Accepted Version
Pending embargo until 1 January 2100.

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Epidemic exposure in an individual’s “impressionable years” (ages 18 to 25) has a persistent negative effect on confidence in political institutions and leaders. This loss of trust is associated with epidemic-induced economic difficulties, such as lower income and unemployment later in life. It is observed for political institutions and leaders only and does not carry over to other institutions and individuals. A key exception is a strong negative effect on confidence in public health systems. This suggests that the distrust in political institutions and leaders is associated with the (in)effectiveness of a government’s healthcare-related response to epidemics. We show that the loss of political trust is largest for individuals who experienced epidemics under weak governments with low policymaking capacity, and confirm that weak governments in fact took longer to introduce policy interventions in response to COVID-19. We report evidence that the epidemic-induced loss of political trust discourages electoral participation in the long term.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 Oxford University Press.
Divisions: European Institute
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
F - International Economics > F5 - International Relations and International Political Economy > F50 - General
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I19 - Other
Date Deposited: 30 May 2022 10:09
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2022 11:12

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