Carsten Jensen, Elias Naumann
Increasing pressures and support for public healthcare in Europe

Health Policy, 2016: 120, issue 6, pp. 698 - 705
ISSN: 0168-8510

We present the results from a natural survey-experiment that tests the effect of a sudden increase in health risks – a flu epidemic – on the public's support for government involvement in health care provision. The data covers 17 European countries and around 10,000 respondents. It was collected in 2008 as part of the European Social Survey. We find that the flu epidemic led to a significant decline in support. Interestingly, changes where located predominantly among those respondents that are self-described right-leaning in ideological terms. The effects of the flu epidemic lasted several weeks and in some instances persisted as long as it was possible to track with the data (i.e., a month). Given that this was a single-event stimulus such a comparably long-lasting effect is noteworthy for both public policy-makers and political scientists.