1)What are the political impacts of exceptional decision making in European countries?
2)What are the determinants of cross-national variation in exceptionalism?
Although initially strong (especially in the Netherlands) public support for emergency measures has progressively eroded as the severity of the pandemic has lessened. Throughout Europe, citizens are increasingly critical about the democratic costs of the management of the pandemic. Moreover, exceptional measures can durably affect democratic equilibria. If unaddressed, this decrease in public trust can reduce citizens compliance with public health measures and destabilize democratic stability. This calls for urgent research on the modalities, impacts and rationale of emergency decisions in pandemic times and other exogenous shocks.
Based on theories of emergency decision-making, we hypothesize that exceptionalism (measured by its severity and its design) is influenced by 8 factors: people’s compliance, democratic legitimacy,democratic stability, the severity of the pandemic, contagion over Europe, legal preparedness, equilibrium of counter-powers and national democratic culture. In turn, exceptionalism negatively affects democratic resilience (political legitimacy + regime stability), but increases people’s compliance and reduces the severity of the pandemic.
EXCEPTIUS is a 2 years European transdisciplinary project, led by the University of Groningen supported by a Board and based on a three-staged approach. First, metrics of exceptionalism in all EEA countries will be defined and made publicly available in an open-access dashboard. Second, the health and political impacts of exceptional measures will be assessed through synthetic control analyses. Third, the determinants of cross-national variation will be analyzed based the severity of the crisis and domestic and international political constraints using pooled time-series regression analyses.