Populism and Political (Mis-)Belief Effect on Individual Adherence to Lockdown during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy
24 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020 Last revised: 13 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 12, 2020
To mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), social distancing and lockdown have been used in the past months. Using region-level geolocation data from Italy, we document that political belief can potentially limit the effectiveness of government distancing orders. Residents in regions leaning towards extreme right-wing party show a lower reduction in mobility. We also find that this is true for regions with high protest votes. On the contrary there was a sharper reduction in mobility in regions were there is a higher political support for the current political legislation. These results are robust to controlling for other factors including time, geography, local COVID-19 cases and deaths, family characteristics, and healthcare hospital beds. Our research shows that bipartisan support as well as national responsibility are essential in order to efficiently implement social distancing. We also suggest that partisan politics and discontent with the political class, as measured by protest voting, might eventually affect human health and the economy.
Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Political belief, Protest vote, Geolocation data
JEL Classification: P16, C55, H7
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation