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Right-wing Authoritarianism, Left-wing Authoritarianism, and pandemic-mitigation authoritarianism

Cite this dataset

Manson, Joseph H. (2020). Right-wing Authoritarianism, Left-wing Authoritarianism, and pandemic-mitigation authoritarianism [Dataset]. Dryad.


On April 22, 2020, 549 U.S. resident users of completed (1) the Authoritarianism-Conservatism-Traditionalism Scales (Duckitt, Bizumic, Kruauss, and Heled, 2010), (2) the 22-item short form of the Left-Wing Authoritarianism Index (Costello and Lilienfeld, 2019), (3) their level of endorsement of 19 policies that could possibly mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and (4) a set of demographic questions (age, gender, ethnicity, pre-pandemic household income, and highest educational attainment).  They were also asked to provide their current ZIP code, because county-level COVID-19 prevalence was a control variable in the analyses.  To protect participants' confidentiality, neither ZIP code nor county name is included in this data set.  Instead, the data set includes the relevant control variable (COVID-19 cases per 100,000 county residents on Apr. 22, 2020). Also provided are the STATA commands used in the analyses.

Usage notes

Data ReadMe: "Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Left-Wing Authoritarianism, and Pandemic-Mitigation Authoritarianism"

final_dataset: 1 = cases remaining after excluding those lacking ZIP codes, genders other than male or female, and one case with a reported age of 2. 0 = excluded cases.

afr_am: 1 = yes

income_reduced: 7-point scale, anchored by "strongly disagree" and "strongly agree": My income is being reduced by following social distancing restrictions

[Note: To protect participants' confidentiality, county COVID rate is not included in this file.  Researchers may request these rates, and the names of counties, by contacting the author]

The remaining items were responded to on a 7-point scale anchored by "strongly disagree" and "strongly agree."

con_1_r: It’s great that many young people today are prepared to defy authority (reversed)
con_2: What our country needs most is discipline, with everyone following our leaders in unity
con_3_r: Students at high schools and at university must be encouraged to challenge, criticize, and confront established authorities (reversed)
con_4: Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.
con_5: Our country will be great if we show respect for authority and obey our leaders.
con_6_r: People should be ready to protest against and challenge laws they don’t agree with (reversed).

trad_1_r: Nobody should stick to the “straight and narrow.” Instead people should break loose and try out lots of different ideas and experiences (reversed)
trad_2: The “old-fashioned ways” and “old-fashioned values” still show the best way to live
trad_3: God’s laws about abortion, pornography, and marriage must be strictly followed before it is too late
trad_4_r: There is absolutely nothing wrong with nudist camps (reversed)
trad_5: This country will flourish if young people stop experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sex, and pay more attention to family values
trad_6_r: There is nothing wrong with premarital sexual intercourse (reversed)

auth_1_r: Strong, tough government will harm not help our country (reversed)
auth_2: Being kind to loafers or criminals will only encourage them to take advantage of your weakness, so it’s best to use a firm, tough hand when dealing with them
auth_3_r: Our society does NOT need tougher government and stricter laws (reversed)
auth_4: The facts on crime and the recent public disorders show we have to crack down harder on troublemakers, if we are going preserve law and order
auth_5_r: Our prisons are a shocking disgrace. Criminals are unfortunate people who deserve much better care, instead of so much punishment (reversed)
auth_6: The way things are going in this country, it’s going to take a lot of “strong medicine” to straighten out the troublemakers, criminals, and perverts

lwa_1: Bigots must be taught to shut-up and stay in their place
lwa_2: Certain elements in our society must be made to pay for the violence of their ancestors
lwa_3: Colleges and universities that permit speakers with intolerant views should be publicly condemned
lwa_4: I am in favor of allowing the government to shut down right-wing internet sites and blogs that promote nutty, hateful positions
lwa_5: Fox News, right-wing talk radio, and other conservative media outlets should be prohibited from broadcasting their hateful views
lwa_6: Getting rid of inequality is more important than protecting the so-called “right” to free speech
lwa_7: I cannot imagine myself becoming friends with a political conservative
lwa_8: I hate being around non-progressive people
lwa_9: I hate people who are themselves hateful
lwa_10: I hope that far right extremists become sterile and can never reproduce
lwa_11: I would be willing to take up arms to help a left-wing revolution succeed
lwa_12: I would prefer a far-left leader with absolute authority over a right-wing leader with limited power
lwa_13: If I could remake society, I would put members of historically and presently marginalized groups at the top
lwa_14: If you're not going to support marginalized folks, you and I can't be friends
lwa_15: It is important that we destroy the West's nationalist, imperialist values
lwa_16: Not to change one’s behavior to accommodate victims of social injustice is a denial of their humanity
lwa_17: One isn't closed-minded for hating people who are themselves closed-minded
lwa_18:. Opposition to affirmative action is, by definition, racist
lwa_19: People who are prejudiced against transgender folks are all evil
lwa_20: Political correctness does not hinder free speech - it expands it
lwa_21: The only good racist is a dead racist
lwa_22: When we spend all of our time protecting the right to “free speech” we're protecting the rights of sexists, racists, and homophobes at the cost of marginalized people

rep_police: I would report it to the police if I saw someone violating social distancing rules
persuasion: overnment policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 should rely more on persuasion than on enforcing rules about social distancing
need_punishment: People can't be trusted to follow social distancing guidelines unless they are threatened with punishment
certif_immunity: I support the idea of an official federal government certificate that would be issued to people with proven immunity to COVID-19
mandatory_app: I support the idea of requiring all smartphones to run an app that tracks a person's movements and notifies them when they are near a person infected with COVID-19

For as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues...

follow_distance_orders: ...Americans need to follow government orders about social distancing, even if they disagree with them
prohibit_misinformtn: …governments should have the power to prohibit the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 that could endanger people if it were widely believed.
surveill_churches: …government officials should put churches under surveillance to make sure that they're not holding services that violate social distancing rules
restrict_protests: …the constitutional right to protest against government actions should be restricted
ban_firearms: …sales of firearms should be banned.
ban_nonessentials: …sales of non-essential goods should be banned
close_abortion_clinics: …abortion clinics should be closed
govt_run_economy: …governments will need to run the economy by deciding what goods are to be produced, and in what quantities
no_jury_trial: …illegal activities that increase the spread of the virus should be punished directly by government officials, without the right to trial by jury
executive_rule: …heads of national, state, and local governments should be able to order new restrictions on activities that could spread the virus, without needing to consult legislative bodies (such as Congress or state legislatures)
extra_punishment: …crimes that take advantage of the pandemic (like stealing masks) should be punished much more severely than the same crimes when committed under normal conditions
authority_to_experts: …public health experts should be given more authority than elected politicians
mandatory_testing: …public health authorities should test people for the virus, even if they don't want to be tested, to obtain data that the authorities have decided they need to get the pandemic under control
ban_foreigners: …citizens of foreign countries should be banned from entering the United States

STATA Code for "Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Left-Wing Authoritarianism, and Pandemic-Mitigation Authoritarianism."

Example of Imputation: The Conservatism scale of the ACT Scales. Using only cases for which final_dataset==1.

mi set mlong

. mi register imputed con_1_r con_2 con_3_r con_5 con_6_r
(8 m=0 obs. now marked as incomplete)

. mi register regular con_4

. mi impute chained (regress) con_1_2r con_2 con_3_r con_5 con_6_r = con_4, add(20)

The mean value of 20 imputations was substituted for each missing value.

Following imputation:

Each of the ACT scales was scored as the mean score across its six items.
RWA was scored as the mean score across the three ACT scales.
LWA was scored as the mean score across the 22 LWA Index items.

Example of hierarchical regression analysis:

hireg rep_police (incm_reduced t_covid gender age afr_am) (lwa rwa) if final_dataset==1, r(beta)

Here, t_covid is the zero-skewness log transform of county COVID-19 rate (cases per 100,000 residents)