How information about inequality impacts support for school closure policies : Evidence from the pandemic
2022, Bellani, Luna, Bertogg, Ariane, Kulic, Nevena, Strauß, Susanne
The increase in inequalities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been the topic of intense scholarly and public debate. School closures are one of the containment measures that have been debated most critically in this regard. What drives support for school and daycare/kindergarten closures during a public health crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic? More specifically, do inequality concerns affect this support? To identify causal linkages between awareness of inequalities and support for school and daycare/kindergarten closures, we use a survey experiment with information treatment, in which we randomly assign information designed to prime the respondents to think about either education inequality, gender inequality, or both. Based on an original survey experiment involving more than 3,000 respondents, conducted in spring 2021 at the end of a long lockdown in Germany, our findings show that concerns about education inequality and gender inequality are equally important for decreasing support for preschool and primary school closures, while they do not seem to matter regarding secondary school closures.