Professor Homa Zarghamee


On October 19, 2022, Homa Zarghamee, associate professor of economics, and her colleagues published a new paper in Contemporary Economic Policy titled, “Support for bigger government: The principle-implementation gap and COVID-19.” The work examines data collected before and during the pandemic to assess changes in young Americans’ attitudes toward the federal government. 
Zarghamee and her co-authors analyzed survey responses from students at Barnard College, Santa Clara University, and Skidmore College, which revealed that while participants had become less trustful of the government throughout the pandemic, they ultimately expressed a desire for a bigger federal government. Results also indicate that while these young people want the federal government to do more, they don’t support ramping up the government's “standard functions,” such as setting safe workplace standards, taking care of infrastructure, or advancing space exploration. Support for the redistribution of wealth to achieve more significant social equity increased only slightly over time, and there was no evidence of increased support for specific redistributive policies. The results did not show significant differences in the effect of the pandemic on government and market attitudes by political ideology. 
This study suggests that young Americans want a bigger government, but a version unlike what we currently have in this country — one that serves very different functions. Further research will be needed to determine if the significant drop in favorable opinions toward government and markets that occurred after the pandemic’s onset will be permanent or influence future real-world behaviors.