Covid-19 Changed Tastes for Safety-Net Programs
22 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2020 Last revised: 20 Feb 2021
Date Written: September 2020
In June 2020, we surveyed 2,516 Americans regarding their preferences for both short- and long-term expansions to government-provided healthcare and unemployment insurance programs. We find that support for such programs is positively associated with (a) COVID-19 deaths and infections in the respondent’s county, (b) the pandemic-induced change in the unemployment rate in the respondent’s county, and (c) survey elicitations of the respondent’s perceptions of COVID-19’s consequences. These associations persist when controlling for pre-COVID-19 political ideology and demographics. These results suggest that real or perceived exposure to COVID-19’s consequences has influenced support for expansions to the U.S. safety-net system.
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