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Health Policy

Jonathan Lee

Politically Charged Trustworthiness Narratives and Public Health Institutions
2022-23 Survey Lab project

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed unprecedented levels of distrust in public health institutions and non-adherence to their recommendations. Of particular concern has been the rise of partisanship and political ideology, as well as related social media and partisan media consumption patterns, as potent predictors of distrust and non-adherence. In this project, I use online survey experiments to examine the effects of exposure to distinct types of nonpartisan and partisan narratives attacking the trustworthiness of public health institutions.

Moral Outrage and Social Change on Social Media
2019 American Democracy Fellowship

There is significant controversy surrounding whether moral outrage has a net positive or negative effect on efforts towards social change. While on one hand moral outrage may motivate people to pursue the exposure and punishment of moral wrongdoers, others suggest it can lead to the harmful dehumanization of targets and spark costly retaliation. Moral outrage as it relates to social change remains poorly understood, and even less known about how these forces play out online via social media.  In this research project, the aim is to measure the effect of moral outrage on a subject's likelihood of engaging in various activism-related behaviors in the setting of a social media platform. Subjects will be randomized into a treatment and control group. The treatment group will be exposed to news stories taken from the popular press which demonstrably generated significant moral outrage. Stories will cover a range of issues from healthcare to Wall Street to Animal Cruelty. The control group will be exposed to modified versions of the same story with elements eliciting moral outrage removed. After each story, subjects will be given opportunities to engage in various activism-related behaviors.