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Racial Resentment and Support for COVID-19 Travel Bans in the United States

Shana Kushner Gadarian, Sara Wallace Goodman, Thomas Pepinsky

Political Science Research and Methods, May 2023

Shana Kushner Gadarian

Shana Kushner Gadarian

Travel bans were a globally prevalent policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States, travel bans against China and European countries proved a broadly popular mitigation tool among Americans. Why did Americans support COVID-19 travel bans?

We fielded two novel survey experiments, surveying 3000 American citizens across five waves (between March 2020 and March 2021). In randomizing the country of origin of those potentially subject to travel ban measures, we find consistent evidence that racial attitudes drive support for travel bans.

The strength of this relationship varies across political parties and across hypothetical target countries but is not explained by objective caseloads that change across countries and over the course of the pandemic.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute
306 Eggers Hall