Does Partisanship Affect Compliance With Government Recommendations?
54 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2018
Date Written: October 16, 2018
Because of polarization, Democrats and Republicans have different levels of government trust depending on which party is in power. To what degree does differential trust affect partisan willingness to comply with government recommendations? To answer this question, I analyze compliance with government vaccination recommendations in three separate cases, using survey data and kindergarten vaccination data spanning both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. I find that people are more likely to think vaccines are safe, more likely to say they intend to vaccinate, and more likely to actually vaccinate their children when their preferred party is in power. Using mediation analysis, I confirm that partisan differences in perceptions of vaccine safety are due to differences in government trust. These findings suggest that partisanship significantly impacts behavior, even in domains concerning health and medical care.
Keywords: partisanship, parties, polarization
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation