Covid-19 Lockdown concept. CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN. Covid-19 Pandemic world lockdown for quarantine. World many country and city under lockdown concept.

2023 | Felix Hartmann, Ferdinand Geissler, Macartan Humphreys, Heike Klüver and Johannes Giesecke

Trading Liberties: Estimating COVID-19 Policy Preferences from Conjoint Data

Survey experiments are an important tool to measure policy preferences.

Researchers often rely on the random assignment of policy attribute levels to estimate different types of average marginal effects. Yet, researchers are often interested in how respondents trade-off different policy dimensions.
We use a conjoint experiment administered to more than 10,000 respondents in Germany, to study preferences over personal freedoms and public welfare during the COVID-19 crisis. Using a pre-registered structural model, we estimate policy ideal points and indifference curves to assess the conditions under which citizens are willing to sacrifice freedoms in the interest of public well-being. We document broad willingness to accept restrictions on rights alongside sharp heterogeneity with respect to vaccination status. The majority of citizens are vaccinated and strongly support limitations on freedoms in response to extreme conditions—especially, when they vaccinated themselves are exempted from these limitations. The unvaccinated minority prefers no restrictions on freedoms regardless of the severity of the pandemic. These policy packages also matter for reported trust in government, in opposite ways for vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens.

Photo: DOERS / Shutterstock / Covid-19 Lockdown Concept

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