Esther Blanco, Alexandra Baier, Felix Holzmeister
Oct 1, 2021
Think tanks and political leaders have raised concerns about the implications that the Covid-19 response and reconstruction might have on other social objectives that were setting the international agenda before the Covid-19 pandemic. We present evidence for eight consecutive weeks during April–May 2020 for Austria, testing the extent to which Covid-19 concerns substitute other social concerns such as the climate crisis or the protection of vulnerable sectors of the society. We measure behavior in a simple donation task where participants receive €3 that they can distribute between themselves and a list of charitable organizations, which vary between treatments. We consider initially a list of eight charities, including a broad set of social concerns. Results show that introducing the WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund significantly reduces the sum of donations to the original eight charities. This derives from two effects: First, introducing the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund does not significantly change aggregate donations. Second, results point to a high support to the WHO Covid-19 Fund. Overall, our results indicate that donations to diverse social concerns are partially substituted by donations to the Covid-19 fund; yet, this substitution does not fully replace all other social concerns. Results are robust to a 10-fold increase in endowment, with decisions made over €30.