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  • Robert MacCulloch

Expect Coronovirus to make young Kiwis more left-wing

Several years ago an influential article was published in one of the world's leading economics journal called "Growing up in a Recession". The main finding was "that individuals who experienced a recession when young believe that success in life depends more on luck than effort, support more government redistribution, and tend to vote for left-wing parties. The effect of recessions on beliefs is long-lasting".


Coronavirus is a world event completely outside the control of young people who are entering the work-force for the first time. Many will find that the hard work and effort they exerted to gain skills is not rewarded as firms cut back on hiring. Finding a job will be harder and their entire life-time earnings are likely to be affected. As a consequence, young people will be more supportive of the idea that success is not dependent on merit and that luck plays a big role. This belief is also associated with more support for left-wing parties, since it leads to a view that government should play an important role in helping those who have been left behind through no fault of their own.


Amazingly, this belief can have an effect on how a young person votes for many years into the future. It may even play a role in increasing the support for left-wing parties in our upcoming election. Here is a discussion of the article, but in the context of the "Great Recession" of 2008:


http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/58901/1/__lse.ac.uk_storage_LIBRARY_Secondary_libfile_shared_repository_Content_American%20Politics%20and%20Policy_2014_May_blogs.lse.ac.uk-The_current_recession_may_be_forming_a_generation_that_wants_more_state_intervention_redistribution_a.pdf

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