Information disclosure and political trust during the Covid-19 crisis: experimental evidence from Ireland

Michele Crepaz, Gizem Arikan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The implementation of unprecedented crisis management policies in response to the spread of COVID-19 has attracted the attention of scholars interested in exploring the link between pandemic politics and political trust. However, while the disclosure of information about the pandemic constitutes an important aspect of crisis management policies, the effect of the level of information disclosure on political trust has not yet been investigated. As part of a larger nationally representative survey experiment on the role of transparency on political trust, we collected data from 618 respondents in the Republic of Ireland in May 2020. The pre-registered study manipulated the level of the disclosure of government information about the status of the pandemic (high and low information conditions). We do not find any direct effects of information disclosure treatments on political trust. However, we find that the high information condition significantly increases political trust among individuals with higher levels of prior trust in government, while it leads to a backfiring effect among those with lower levels of prior trust. These findings are relevant for both public opinion and public policy researchers who are interested in the effect of openness on citizen attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-108
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties
Volume31
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

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