The COVID-19 pandemic has induced a system-wide economic downturn disrupting virtually every conceivable economic interest. Which interests do legislators publicly champion during such crises? Here, we examine mentions of particular industries across thousands of press releases issued by members of Congress during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (January to June 2020). We show that members consistently emphasized interests significant to their constituency and party network, but less so their direct campaign contributors or ideological allies. This suggests that members believe that they must be seen as good district representatives and party stewards even when national crises could justifiably induce them to favor any number of interests.
Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 2, Issue 1 Special issue - The Political Economy of Pandemics, Part II
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