Has the Covid-19 pandemic undermined public support for a diverse society? Evidence from a natural experiment in Germany


The Covid-19 pandemic has led to widespread worries that the health crisis is resulting in generalized hostility towards minorities and reduced support for a diverse society. Relying on a large survey of diversity attitudes in Germany fielded before and during the pandemic, we employ a quasi-experimental design to evaluate whether such a trend has occurred among the general public. Past work suggests two competing expectations – one anticipating a rise in hostility grounded in threat theories, and one anticipating stability grounded in public opinion research and theories of longer-term value change. Empirical results reveal generally high assent to socio-demographic diversity and minority accommodation, and remarkable stability during the pandemic period. Additionally, survey vignettes show strong and equally stable anti-discrimination norms that are inclusive of Asian-origin populations. Overall, results suggest that surges in racist incidents during the pandemic do not reflect analogous surges in hostility within the population at large.

Ethnic and Racial Studies