Crises, Coordination Failures, and Centralizing Shifts: Comparative Public Opinion Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic

15.05.2023 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Amuitz Garmendia Madariaga
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universidad Carlos III Madrid

Centralization represents the historical response of political elites to overcome the difficulties in coordination when facing up to an external threat. Yet we know little on the demand-side of authority distribution in the context of a crisis. In this paper we develop a theoretical model on the effect of crises and coordination inefficiencies on individuals’ territorial preferences. We predict that crisis time uncoordinated responses will prompt a centralizing shift in preferences. We test this argument using online survey experiments in a comparative sample of 13 countries at different times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that exposure to unsuccessful intergovernmental coordination shifted individuals’ preferences towards a more centralized power allocation in a majority of countries. This effect is moderated by contextual conditions such as actual multilevel policy efforts and changes in the intensity of the pandemic. Individual-level territorial identity or partisan identification also intervene as significant moderators of our treatment.