The Impact of Political Ideology on Concern and Behavior During COVID-19
27 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2020 Last revised: 28 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 11, 2020
Beliefs about objective matters of fact are caused in no small part by political identity. This includes beliefs regarding the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, which tend to align with ideological commitments. These linkages between beliefs and political identity matter for behavior, and not just in the voting booth. Decisions about whether (and how) to adopt measures like social distancing rely in part upon how one evaluates the seriousness of the risk posed by the virus. In this paper we investigate the relationship between one’s political ideology, sources of information and news consumption, and COVID-19 oriented behavioral changes. We find that liberals and moderates make fewer trips than conservatives and are more likely to change their behavior in ways suggested by government recommendations and guidelines. The results further show little effect of state-level orders, but we do find some indication that concern about COVID-19, and beliefs about the behavior of others can predict behavior changes.
Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, political ideology, behavior, social distancing
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