“I’ll be the first one on the street to protest against the lockdown”: Economic grievances and antilockdown protests during the COVID-19 pandemic in high-income countries

Maria Chayinska*, Özden Melis Uluğ, Jais Adam-Troian, Yue Ting Woo, Arin H. Ayanian, Johanna Gratzel, Maria Paola Paladino, Jeroen Vaes

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In the current research, we examined the association between perceived economic grievances and both intentions to engage and actual engagement in antilockdown protests during the COVID-19 pandemic in high-income countries. We also investigated whether this direct association would be (a) mediated by social identification with the economically disadvantaged and (b) moderated by fatalistic beliefs about the pandemic. In Study 1, multilevel modelling based on online search data from the US (N = 505) indicated that weekly fluctuations in searches related to economic grievances predicted the occurrence of antilockdown protests over time. In Studies 2 (Germany; N = 404) and 3 (Italy; N = 1,857), we showed that the link between perceived economic grievances and intentions to engage in antilockdown collective action was significantly mediated by social identification with people who suffered economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Study 3 replicated the findings of Study 2 and extended it by showing the role of high (vs. low) fatalistic beliefs about the pandemic in moderating the association between perceived economic grievances and antilockdown collective action intentions. We discuss the consequences of unaddressed economic grievances for democratic functioning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Early online date14 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • collective action
  • economic grievances
  • fatalism
  • social identity
  • volume search data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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