Divided We Stay Home: Social Distancing and Ethnic Diversity

51 Pages Posted: 26 May 2020 Last revised: 28 Oct 2020

See all articles by Georgy Egorov

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; NBER

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance; New Economic School; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona GSE

Alexey Makarin

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Maria Petrova

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 27, 2020

Abstract

Homogeneous societies usually provide more public goods. Voluntary social distancing in a pandemic is also a public good, but it has private benefits, too. Theoretically, we show that presence of population groups with different rationales for social distancing can lead to stricter observance of social distancing in more diverse societies. Empirically, we find that mobility reduction following the first local COVID-19 case was stronger in Russian cities with higher ethnic fractionalization and xenophobia. For identification, we predict the timing of the first case using historical patterns of internal migration. Using the United States data on mobility produces similar results.

Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, social distancing, quarantine, ethnic fractionalization, diversity, xenophobia, Russia

JEL Classification: D64, D74, I12

Suggested Citation

Egorov, Georgy and Enikolopov, Ruben and Makarin, Alexey and Petrova, Maria, Divided We Stay Home: Social Distancing and Ethnic Diversity (October 27, 2020). Journal of Public Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3609527 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3609527

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

Skolkovskoe shosse 45
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

ICREA ( email )

Passeig LluĂ­s Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Alexey Makarin (Contact Author)

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)

Via Sallustiana, 62
Rome, Lazio 00187
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Maria Petrova

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

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