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Epilogue - Group Empathy in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2021

Cigdem V. Sirin
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
Nicholas A. Valentino
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
José D. Villalobos
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
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Summary

The book ends with an epilogue on the COVID-19 pandemic that upended the world, causing massive loss of life and socio-economic devastation, as we were finishing our book. We present empirical evidence from our latest national survey in March 2020 on the role group empathy plays in reactions to the pandemic. Group empathy is the leading predictor of support for coronavirus-related foreign aid, above and beyond partisanship, ideology, feelings about whites versus blacks, political news exposure, and other key factors. As a discriminant validity check, we also analyzed the effect of group empathy on concern about oneself or a family member getting ill with the coronavirus disease. The results corroborate that the effect of group empathy we observe on support for coronavirus relief to foreign nations is not a product of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic getting worse elsewhere and eventually coming back to infect the respondents themselves. It is about concern for others. Further consistent with our theory, the association between group empathy and support for coronavirus-related foreign aid is much stronger among nonwhites as compared to whites. We conclude with a discussion about the power of empathy to improve intergroup relations in the post–COVID-19 world.

Type
Chapter
Information
Seeing Us in Them
Social Divisions and the Politics of Group Empathy
, pp. 260 - 265
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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