Public Attention and Policy Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic

23 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020

See all articles by Cevat Giray Aksoy

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; King’s College London; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Michael Ganslmeier

University of Oxford; University College London

Panu Poutvaara

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics; ifo Institut - Leibniz-Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung an der Universitaet Muenchen e.V.; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); CReAM; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: June 29, 2020

Abstract

Early non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) significantly reduced the death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, there are vast differences in how quickly governments implemented NPIs. In this paper, we analyze the role of public attention, measured as the share of daily Google searches in a country related to COVID-19, in the timing of the NPI responses. We first show that public attention depends strongly on whether there are cases in own country. We then show that countries with high levels of public attention are more likely to implement non-pharmaceutical interventions, even after controlling for the number of cases and deaths. Finally, we show that the extent to which a government responds to public attention is highly dependent on the country’s institutional quality. The positive effect of public attention on policy implementation is driven entirely by countries with good institutions

Keywords: COVID-19, Non-pharmaceutical interventions, Public attention, Institutional quality

JEL Classification: D72, D78, D83, H12, I18

Suggested Citation

Aksoy, Cevat Giray and Ganslmeier, Michael and Poutvaara, Panu, Public Attention and Policy Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic (June 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3638340 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3638340

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( email )

One Exchange Square
London EC2A 2JN
United Kingdom

King’s College London ( email )

Aldwych
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Michael Ganslmeier

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Panu Poutvaara (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iiv.vwl.uni-muenchen.de/index.html

ifo Institut - Leibniz-Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung an der Universitaet Muenchen e.V. ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany
00498992241372 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.ifo.de/poutvaara-p

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

CReAM ( email )

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=1501

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