Pandemic and prejudice: Results from a national survey experiment

Neeraj Kaushal*, Yao Lu, Xiaoning Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Do health and economic shocks exacerbate prejudice towards racial/ethnic minority groups? We investigate this question in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by collecting nationally representative survey data with an embedded experiment. Results show that priming COVID-19 salience has an immediate impact: compared to the control group, respondents in the treatment group reported increased prejudice towards East Asian and Hispanic colleagues. East Asians in the treatment group faced higher prejudicial responses from Americans living in counties with higher COVID-19 infections and those who lost jobs due to COVID-19, and fewer prejudicial responses in counties with a higher concentration of Asians. These results point to the salience of COVID-19 fueled health and economic insecurities in shaping prejudicial attitudes, specifically towards East Asians. County-level socioeconomic factors did not moderate the increased prejudicial attitudes toward Hispanics in the workplace. These findings highlight a dimension of prejudice, intensified during the pandemic, which has been largely underreported and therefore missing from the current discourse on this important topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0265437
JournalPloS one
Issue number4 April
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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