British Academy Fellows respond to COVID-19

The current global pandemic has of course had a huge impact on our lives. Whilst medical professionals, scientists, and others on the front line work to combat the spread of the disease, researchers in other disciplines are interested in exploring what effects COVID-19 might be having in other areas of our lives. 

WEALTHPOL PI Ben Ansell is one of nine British Academy Fellows taking on new research, and is thinking about the impact the virus, particularly whether how we react to isolation and social distancing measures has a political slant.

Short descriptions of each of the Fellows' research ideas can be found on the British Academy blog, and we reproduce here Ben's own account:

"Is politics affecting how people respond to the coronavirus? In recent weeks in America we have seen an anti-lockdown movement emerge amongst conservatives, occasionally supported by President Trump. So far there is little evidence of political attitudes driving social distancing in the UK. However, whereas wealthier people can more often work from home, it may be that social distancing becomes increasingly challenging for manual workers and the self-employed. Google Community Reports local activity data suggest that while everywhere in the UK has seen massive drops in workplace activity, that is less true in poorer, lower density communities. And this also appears to mirror the Brexit divide, with wealthier Remain areas finding it easier to work from home. While the public have been impressively sticking to the lockdown, 'fatigue' may be asymmetric and might mirror existing economic and political divides."