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We document the broad patterns of COVID-19 as it affects minority communities. We present a theoretical framework rooted in Global North democracies’ racial and ethnic legacies to analyze the health and economic disparities between these communities and the white majority population. Marshalling first-cut empirical evidence from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden, we find patterns of the pandemic’s distribution consistent with how the burden of racial and ethnic legacies endures: people from minority communities have worse health and economic outcomes under normal circumstances, inequalities the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated. The comparison shows that the impact of racial and ethnic discrimination on pandemic policy outcomes is not unique to the United States. Health inequalities stemming in part from patterns of institutional racism and discrimination perversely help reproduce these societal inequities. We find that governments’ initial responses have failed to mitigate the disproportionate impact of this health and economic crisis on minority communities because they did not acknowledge or address the particular challenges that these groups face.
The public health crisis of COVID-19 has compounded preexisting crises of democratic stability and effective governance, spurring debate about the ability of developed democracies to respond effectively to emergencies confronting their citizens. These crises, much discussed in recent political science, are joined by a further crisis which complicates and reinforces them: A migration crisis. Widespread travel and immigration restrictions instigated the largest and fastest decline in global human mobility in modern history, and COVID-19 may fundamentally change immigration over the longer term.
The migration crisis heightens three crucial and preexisting concerns within immigration policy: the role of visa design; the status of undocumented migrants and other migrants without recourse to public funds; and the interaction of immigration and the labor market policy. It could reinforce a rising tide of nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment, protectionist sentiment within labor-market policy debates, and a K-shaped recovery in migration patterns.
Does benefit competition affect voters' support for immigrants' social rights? While scholars in political economy expect that benefit competition lowers support among the poor, the evidence is limited. This seems to be largely due to the reliance on highly aggregated analyses and the neglect of the institutional context in which individuals form their preferences. This article argues that lower-income voters are more likely to reduce their support due to competition when benefit eligibility depends on income. Using individual-level panel data from the Netherlands and a novel way to measure benefit competition, the study shows that lower-middle-income voters become less supportive of immigrants' social rights when more social housing in their municipality is allocated to refugees. By contrast, competition does not reduce support among the rich or the very poor. The findings suggest that benefit competition can erode support for immigrants' social rights and influence electoral politics.
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