Citizens in the World’s Leading Economies Want a Fast Recovery Post-Pandemic

By John Halpin, Matt Browne, Alexandra Schmitt, Hans Anker, Marcus Roberts, and Sophy Hinchcliffe

Getty/Ludovic Marin: People gather at the weekly market close to the Eiffel Tower amid the coronavirus pandemic in Paris on January 30, 2021..
An Introduction and Summary:
At the successful conclusion of the recent G-7 summit in Cornwall, United Kingdom, President Joe Biden and other leaders of the world’s advanced economies agreed to a common set of objectives to address the coronavirus pandemic and spur global economic rebuilding. The final communique signed by those leaders included coordinated action on vaccine distribution economic recovery global corporate taxation and fair trade climate change and a unified response to China’s rising authoritarian power. Although the specific policies to carry out these agreements remain to be hashed out in greater detail, world leaders have sketched out an important strategy for rapid, thorough, fair, and ecologically sustainable economic growth post-pandemic.Since the actions of the G-7 must be promoted within specific national political contexts, it is important to know how citizens in these countries are likely to respond to the goals outlined at the Cornwall summit. A comprehensive multination poll—conducted by Global Progress and YouGov just prior to the start of the summit—of the G-7 nations and Australia provides a wealth of useful data on what citizens in the world’s leading economies think about post-pandemic economic recovery and politics. In short, citizens want a fast recovery from the pandemic but are divided on how governments should get there and worry about future challenges from emerging technology and rising inequality.
This large-scale study interviewed a total of 11,433 adults and was conducted from May 13, 2021, to May 24, 2021, in nationally representative samples in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Italy, Canada, and Japan.

Final shared goals of G-7 leaders
In their joint communique released June 13, 2021,2 G-7 leaders agreed to the following goals:
End the pandemic and prepare for the future by driving an intensified international effort, starting immediately, to vaccinate the world by getting as many safe vaccines to as many people as possible as fast as possible. Total G7 commitments since the start of the pandemic provide for a total of over two billion vaccine doses, with the commitments since we last met in February 2021, including here in Carbis Bay, providing for one billion doses over the next year. At the same time we will create the appropriate frameworks to strengthen our collective defenses against threats to global health by: increasing and coordinating on global manufacturing capacity on all continents improving early warning systems and support science in a mission to shorten the cycle for the development of safe and effective vaccines, treatments and tests from 300 to 100 days.
Reinvigorate our economies by advancing recovery plans that build on the $12 trillion of support we have put in place during the pandemic. We will continue to support our economies for as long as is necessary, shifting the focus of our support from crisis response to promoting growth into the future, with plans that create jobs, invest in infrastructure, drive innovation, support people, and level up so that no place or person, irrespective of age, ethnicity or gender is left behind. This has not been the case with past global crises, and we are determined that this time it will be different.
Secure our future prosperity by championing freer, fairer trade within a reformed trading system, a more resilient global economy, and a fairer global tax system that reverses the race to the bottom. We will collaborate to ensure future frontiers of the global economy and society, from cyber space to outer space, increase the prosperity and wellbeing of all people while upholding our values as open societies. We are convinced of the potential of technological transformation for the common good in accordance with our shared values.
Protect our planet by supporting a green revolution that creates jobs, cuts emissions and seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. We commit to net zero no later than 2050, halving our collective emissions over the two decades to 2030, increasing and improving climate finance to 2025 and to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of our land and oceans by 2030. We acknowledge our duty to safeguard the planet for future generations.
Strengthen our partnerships with others around the world. We will develop a new partnership to build back better for the world, through a step change in our approach to investment for infrastructure, including through an initiative for clean and green growth. We are resolved to deepen our current partnership to a new deal with Africa, including by magnifying support from the International Monetary Fund for countries most in need to support our aim to reach a total global ambition of $100 billion.
Embrace our values as an enduring foundation for success in an ever-changing world. We will harness the power of democracy, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights to answer the biggest questions and overcome the greatest challenges. We will do this in a way that values the individual and promotes equality, especially gender equality, including by supporting a target to get 40 million more girls into education and with at least $2¾ billion for the Global Partnership for Education.

Overall, the research finds that most citizens in advanced economies have learned important lessons coming out of the pandemic about the vulnerabilities of their societies and the need for governments to do more to prepare for future calamities and bolster domestic economies. Majorities of citizens in these leading nations agree that inequality is too high and want to live in fairer societies going forward. Above all, people want fast action to get people back to work, to improve wages, and to increase overall economic security for workers and families.
However, citizens are also split politically on how best to achieve these goals and on how much government action may be required to carry out improvements. And importantly, social distrust is pronounced across nations—along with concerns about social media-fueled divisions and the state of democracy in many countries—suggesting a hard road ahead for coordinated efforts at economic renewal.
Citizens across G-7 nations, however, express strong support for a Biden-style agenda of national investments in infrastructure, health care, and renewable energy to help make their societies fairer, more sustainable, and more competitive in the world. Likewise, majorities of people in G-7 nations uniformly back increased taxation on multinational companies, large online retailers, and the wealthiest few to help pay for these rebuilding efforts. This suggests a way forward for both developing and financing a future economic growth agenda in these countries.
The remainder of this report will highlight the most important results from the study—comparatively and in aggregate—across the eight nations polled.

These findings provide important challenges and opportunities for governments going forward. On the one hand, citizens in leading G-7 nations clearly see a role for government in preventing future pandemics, stopping economic crises from harming their countries, and coordinating with other nations on common challenges. On the other hand, people in many leading economies are split somewhat on the scope of desired reforms on issues related to government intervention, and particularly on climate action.

However, with a concentrated effort on rapid and widely shared economic recovery serving as the primary goal of political action, people can be brought on board in support of large public investments and rebuilding policies consistent with the early steps of the Biden administration. As leaders of the G-7 nations seek to build on their cooperation and renewed goodwill in Cornwall, they would be wise to examine these data about the lessons the public has learned from the pandemic and devise strong steps for successful recovery and rebuilding consistent with public values. Without this support at home, international cooperation to tackle the biggest global challenges on public health, inequality, and global warming will be hard to sustain. About the authors John Halpin is a senior fellow and co-director of the Politics and Elections program at the Center for American Progress. Matt Browne is a senior fellow at the Center and founder of the Global Progress network. Alexandra Schmitt is a senior policy analyst at the Center, where she works with Global Progress. Hans Anker is a political consultant and pollster based in the Netherlands. Marcus Roberts is the director of international projects at YouGov. Sophy Hinchcliffe is a project coordinator at YouGov. Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Carl Chancellor, Christian Rodriguez, Tricia Woodcome, and Chester Hawkins for their excellent editorial and graphic design assistance with this report. The CAP and Global Progress authors would also like to thank YouGov for its generous help in supporting and carrying out this research.