Learning During a Crisis: The Sars Epidemic in Taiwan

52 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011 Last revised: 27 Apr 2011

See all articles by Daniel Bennett

Daniel Bennett

University of Chicago

Chun-Fang Chiang

National Taiwan University - Department of Economics

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School; University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; Resources for the Future; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

When SARS struck Taiwan in the spring of 2003, many people feared that the disease would spread through the healthcare system. As a result, outpatient medical visits fell by over 30 percent in the course of a few weeks. This paper examines how both public information (SARS incidence reports) and private information (the behavior and opinions of peers) contributed to this public reaction. We identify social learning through a difference-in-difference strategy that compares long time community residents to recent arrivals, who are less socially connected. We find that people learned from both public and private sources during SARS. In a dynamic simulation based on the regressions, social learning substantially magnifes the response to SARS.

Suggested Citation

Bennett, Daniel and Chiang, Chun-Fang and Malani, Anup, Learning During a Crisis: The Sars Epidemic in Taiwan (April 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16955. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1810309

Daniel Bennett

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Chun-Fang Chiang

National Taiwan University - Department of Economics ( email )

21 Hsiu Chow Rd
Taipei, 10020
Taiwan

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-9602 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/malani/

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Resources for the Future

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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