Does raising awareness about inequality decrease support for school closures? : An information treatment survey experiment during the COVID-19 pandemic

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2024
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Genus. Springer. 2024, 80(1), 7. eISSN 2035-5556. Available under: doi: 10.1186/s41118-024-00212-5
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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 closures of schools and pre-school services (daycare/kindergarten) during a public health crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic? More specifically, does inequality awareness affect this support? Theoretically, we assume that providing information on current levels of inequality can change policy preferences, as it increases awareness of their consequences for inequality. Moreover, we assume that the strength of the association between information provision and policy support varies across individuals—depending on their exposure to these policies, and the political attitudes that they hold. 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. The experiment, involving more than 3,000 respondents, was conducted in the spring of 2021 at the end of a prolonged lockdown in Germany when a new piece of legislation was enacted, enabling or restricting school reopenings based on local infection rates. Using Probit Regression models for dichotomous dependent variables, we show that raising awareness of education inequality and gender inequality via an information treatment is associated with decreasing support for preschool and primary school closures. We also find that past exposure to school-closure policies strengthens the effects of information treatments, whereas previous political attitudes do not moderate the association between information treatments and support for preschool and school closures.

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ISO 690BELLANI, Luna, Ariane BERTOGG, Nevena KULIC, Susanne STRAUSS, 2024. Does raising awareness about inequality decrease support for school closures? : An information treatment survey experiment during the COVID-19 pandemic. In: Genus. Springer. 2024, 80(1), 7. eISSN 2035-5556. Available under: doi: 10.1186/s41118-024-00212-5
BibTex
@article{Bellani2024-05-28raisi-70040,
  year={2024},
  doi={10.1186/s41118-024-00212-5},
  title={Does raising awareness about inequality decrease support for school closures? : An information treatment survey experiment during the COVID-19 pandemic},
  number={1},
  volume={80},
  journal={Genus},
  author={Bellani, Luna and Bertogg, Ariane and Kulic, Nevena and Strauß, Susanne},
  note={Article Number: 7}
}
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