Does Expert Information Affect Citizens' Attitudes Toward Corona Policies? Evidence from Germany

50 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2021

See all articles by Clemens Fuest

Clemens Fuest

ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich; Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich; Center for Economic Studies (CES)

Lea Immel

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Florian Neumeier

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Andreas Peichl

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Information provided by experts is widely believed to play a key role in shaping attitudes towards policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper uses a survey experiment to assess whether providing citizens with expert information about the health risk of COVID-19 and the economic costs of lockdown measures affects their attitudes towards these policies. Our findings show that providing respondents with information about COVID-19 fatalities among the elderly raises support for lockdown measures, while information about their economic costs decreases support. However, different population subgroups react very differently. Men and younger respondents react more sensitively to information about lockdown costs, while women and older respondents are more susceptible towards information regarding fatality rates. Strikingly, the impact of the information treatment is entirely driven by West German respondents, while East Germans do not react. Finally, our results are entirely driven by respondents who underestimate the fatality of COVID-19, who represent a clear majority.

JEL Classification: H120, I100, I180

Suggested Citation

Fuest, Clemens and Immel, Lea and Neumeier, Florian and Peichl, Andreas, Does Expert Information Affect Citizens' Attitudes Toward Corona Policies? Evidence from Germany (2021). CESifo Working Paper No. 9024, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3832479

Clemens Fuest

ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE 81679
Germany
++89-9224-1430 (Phone)

Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich ( email )

Schackstrasse 4 / II
Munich, DE 80539
Germany

Center for Economic Studies (CES) ( email )

Schackstr. 4
Munich, DE 80539
Germany
++89 2180-2748 (Phone)
++89 2180-17845 (Fax)

Lea Immel

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Florian Neumeier

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Andreas Peichl (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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