Partisanship and Compliance with Government Measures: Evidence from Belgium During the Covid-19 Pandemic
24 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2020 Last revised: 13 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 13, 2020
Partisanship, especially in democratic regimes, may undermine compliance with government policy. We investigate this hypothesis by studying the relationship between electoral support for the minority government coalition and daily growth in covid-19 infections across Belgian municipal districts after the imposition of social-distancing measures. Applying spatial autoregressive modelling, we find that higher support for the parties in the minority government is associated with lower growth in reported infections in the weeks coinciding with the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. These results persist after controlling for median income, population, population density, change in mobility and week and weekday and region fixed effects. Though we find a small far-right effect, we attribute the growth differential to ideological alignment rather than to intrinsic voter characteristics.
Keywords: partisanship, public health, covid-19, Belgium, social distancing
JEL Classification: I18, I12, H12, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation