Who rallies around the flag? Evidence from panel data during the Covid-19 pandemic

Sven Hegewald, Dominik Schraff

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Recent studies on political trust during the Covid-19 pandemic diagnosed a rally around the flag effect, leading to exceptionally high levels of trust in politics. While this finding has been established over various country-contexts, our understanding of the precise dynamics behind the rally effect remains limited. In this paper, we argue that health and economic risks, as well as partisanship condition the rally effect. Using individual-level panel data from the Netherlands, covering the time before and during the first Covid-19 wave, we show that the rally effect is particularly pronounced among older individuals, while it is absent among the young. Furthermore, we find a catch-up effect among the more distrusting part of the population, such as populist supporters and low-income earners, who largely drive the rally effect. This leads to a convergence of trust across different ideational and economic subpopulations, providing for a silver lining during otherwise turbulent times.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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