The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Democratic Legitimacy

Panel Code
Closed Panel
In Person

The unfolding of totally unforeseen political shocks in recent years has raised growing concerns in the political science community about a looming crisis of global democratic recession. Many assumptions previously held by students of democratization were also reexamined as a result of this new reckoning. Now nations worldwide are being tested by the Covid-19 pandemic, in which political elites, who have long been accused of overlooking the needs of the disadvantaged, have demonstrated how they impose restrictive rules on ordinary people while exempting themselves from the inconvenience. These developments have resulted in widespread dissatisfaction with government performance, further distrust of political institutions, and a resurgence of anti-establishment sentiment. Democracies seem more vulnerable than ever before.
This panel invites scholars from the Global Barometer Surveys to discuss how the pandemic affects ordinary citizens' perceptions of how their governments are handling the crisis. Has the pandemic brought the ever-decreasing level of political trust to new lows? How did people cope with the economic distress that followed lockdowns and recessions? Does the pandemic affect people's faith in their political systems and does regime change seem likely? Panelists will discuss how democracy copes (or fails to cope) with the challenges posed by the pandemic.