COVID-19 and Inequality

How does the pandemic change our society? Social scientists from Konstanz investigate this question in the first issue of their new research magazine In_equality.

Inequality, migration, the climate… and, of course, the coronavirus: in times of crisis people increasingly long for explanations and exchange to cope with an ever more complicated situation. The Konstanz research center “The Politics of Inequality” has now published a magazine that offers to deliver these things. It will be published bi-annually under the title In_equality.

“Many scholars feel an urge to contribute”, one article in the new magazine states. For this reason, each issue of In_equality will be filled with contributions by sociologists, economists, political scientists, linguists and education researchers talking about their work and inviting readers to a dialogue on social inequality. The editorial team closely collaborates with designers to also translate the idea of inequality into visual terms.

In the first issue of In_equality, which was published on 04 May 2021, the authors talk about COVID-19 and inequality.

In_equality is freely available at:

Content overview – the first issue of In_equality covers the following topics among others:

Gender inequalities in times of the coronavirus
Will gender equity be rolled back decades by the pandemic? Susanne Strauß and Ariane Bertogg seek answers. They argue that unequally distributed additional burdens during the lockdown phases had – and continue to have – massive effects. The closing of schools and childcare facilities in particular have amplified gender inequalities.

Containment measures and how to make them successful
Wearing masks, contact restrictions and cancelling vacation trips: measures to contain the pandemic are demanding for each and every citizen. There are many debates on how heavy-handedly the state ought to handle such restrictions. Could it be that voluntary compliance based on individual responsibility is more reliable than enforced regulations? Behavioural economist and psychologist Katrin Schmelz explains who would be ready to comply with what containment measures, and why people from East Germany are more willing to accept enforcement by the government.

Maintaining the population’s trust in politics
Alongside the availability of intensive care units, access to test kits and vaccine doses, another resource has shown to be vital during this pandemic: trust in the government and trust in political institutions. Marius R. Busemeyer, Claudia Diehl and Felix Wolter show that the vast majority of German citizens’ trust in politics remains fairly stable throughout these challenging times. However, increasing distrust in the government amongst rather small segments of the population are a cause of growing concern. Even not counting those who openly embrace conspiracy theories, there is a group of doubting citizens that may be in danger of losing trust.

More about COVID-19 and inequality
The first In_equality issue contains additional contributions revolving around the topics of COVID-19 and inequality. One article focuses on the German “Querdenken”-movement opposing the government’s handling of the crisis. Another author discusses the difficulties he himself faces in conducting his research during the pandemic.

Apart from that and building on the cluster’s COVID-19 survey program implemented in early 2020 and repeated in fall and winter, the magazine investigates the role of social sciences during the pandemic, citizens’ trust in science and politics as well as new models of working from home.

Social science in dialogue
Educational opportunities, labour markets, rights & privileges and income & wealth, to name only a few, are areas in which researchers at the Konstanz Cluster of Excellence investigate the political causes and consequences of inequality. You will find more on these topics in future issues. Visit the magazine website to find out more about the magazine’s current issue, announcements and information about upcoming editions.

Key facts:

  • The research magazine In_equality is published bi-annually in spring and fall. The first issue “COVID-19 and Inequality” is officially released on the 4th of May 2021.
  • The magazine is published by the Cluster of Excellence “The Politics of Inequality” at the University of Konstanz (Speaker: Marius R. Busemeyer, Co-Speakers: Claudia Diehl, Nils B. Weidmann). The Cluster’s researchers are the authors.
  • The cluster’s own survey program serves as a basis for many of the contributions. Surveys were conducted with about 8.000 participants in April/May and in October/November 2021.
  • The magazine is freely available online or in print. You may find and subscribe to the magazine online at:

Service for Journalists:
Journalists may subscribe and have the magazine sent to them at no cost in a high-quality print version. Please write an e-mail to: