Support for Bigger Government: The Principle-Implementation Gap and COVID-19
John Ifcher, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Economics
Goff, S.H., Ifcher, J., Zarghamee, H., Reents, A. & Wade, P. (2023) Support for bigger government: the principle-implementation gap and COVID-19. Contemporary Economic Policy, 41(2), 243–261. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/coep.12593
We study the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on government and market attitudes using within-subject comparisons of survey responses elicited before and after the onset of the pandemic. We find that participants develop significantly less favorable opinions toward government and markets; and that participants increase support for bigger government significantly and for redistribution, in general, marginally significantly. There is no evidence this leads to an increase in support for specific redistributive policies, nor for government to play a larger role in specific functions. Our results echo the stubbornness of American preferences for redistribution and suggest the presence of a principle-implementation gap.