Political Beliefs affect Compliance with COVID-19 Social Distancing Orders

30 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020 Last revised: 1 May 2020

See all articles by Marcus Painter

Marcus Painter

Saint Louis University - Department of Finance

Tian Qiu

University of Kentucky - Gatton College of Business and Economics

Date Written: April 30, 2020

Abstract

Social distancing is vital to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. We use geolocation data to document that political beliefs present a significant limitation to the effectiveness of state-level social distancing orders. Residents in Republican counties are less likely to completely stay at home after a state order has been implemented relative to those in Democratic counties. Debit card transaction data shows that Democrats are more likely to switch to e-commerce spending after state orders are implemented. We also find that Democrats are less likely to respond to a state-level order when it is issued by a Republican governor relative to one issued by a Democratic governor. These results are robust to controlling for other factors including time, geography, local COVID-19 cases and deaths, county characteristics, and other social distancing orders. We conclude that bipartisan support is essential to maximize the effectiveness of social distancing orders.

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Political polarization, Geolocation data, Credit card transaction data

JEL Classification: P16, C55, H7

Suggested Citation

Painter, Marcus and Qiu, Tian, Political Beliefs affect Compliance with COVID-19 Social Distancing Orders (April 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3569098 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3569098

Marcus Painter (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - Department of Finance ( email )

Saint Louis, MO
United States

Tian Qiu

University of Kentucky - Gatton College of Business and Economics ( email )

550 South Limestone
Lexington, KY 40506
United States

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