Civic Capital and Social Distancing During the Covid-19 Pandemic

45 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2020 Last revised: 26 Aug 2021

See all articles by John Manuel Barrios

John Manuel Barrios

Washington University in St. Louis - Olin Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research

Efraim Benmelech

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Yael V. Hochberg

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Paola Sapienza

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2020

Abstract

The success of non-pharmaceutical interventions to contain pandemics often depends greatly upon voluntary compliance with government guidelines. What explains variation in voluntary compliance? Using mobile phone and survey data, we show that during the early phases of COVID-19, voluntary social distancing was higher when individuals exhibit a higher sense of civic duty. This is true for U.S. individuals, U.S. counties, and European regions. We also show that after U.S. states began re-opening, social distancing remained more prevalent in high civic capital counties. Our evidence points to the importance of civic capital in designing public policy responses to pandemics.

Suggested Citation

Barrios, John Manuel and Benmelech, Efraim and Hochberg, Yael V. and Sapienza, Paola and Zingales, Luigi, Civic Capital and Social Distancing During the Covid-19 Pandemic (June 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27320, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3621826

John Manuel Barrios (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - Olin Business School ( email )

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Efraim Benmelech

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

Evanston, IL 60208
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Yael V. Hochberg

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

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Paola Sapienza

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance ( email )

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847-491-5719 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-3196 (Phone)
773-834-2081 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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