Information and Behavioral Responses during a Pandemic: Evidence from Delays in COVID-19 Death Reports

53 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020 Last revised: 8 May 2021

See all articles by Emilio Gutierrez

Emilio Gutierrez

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Adrian Rubli

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Tiago Tavares

ITAM

Date Written: May 7, 2021

Abstract

Information is thought to be an important policy tool for managing epidemics. In particular, providing the public with data that tracks the severity of an outbreak – such as case and death counts – may allow individuals to assess risks and modify behaviors. However, issues with data collection and quality may hinder these efforts. Exploiting publicly available administrative data and conducting an online survey within the context of Covid-19 in Mexico, we provide evidence that behavior, and consequently the evolution of the pandemic, are considerably different when death counts are presented by date reported or by date occurred, due to non-negligible reporting delays. We then use an equilibrium model incorporating an endogenous behavioral response to illustrate how reporting delays lead to slower responses by individuals, and consequently, worse epidemic outcomes.

Keywords: information, reporting delays, behavior, social distancing, COVID-19

JEL Classification: I12, I18, D83, H12

Suggested Citation

Gutierrez, Emilio and Rubli, Adrian and Tavares, Tiago, Information and Behavioral Responses during a Pandemic: Evidence from Delays in COVID-19 Death Reports (May 7, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3645317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3645317

Emilio Gutierrez (Contact Author)

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) ( email )

Av. Camino a Sta. Teresa 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Mexico City, CDMX 10700
Mexico

Adrian Rubli

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) ( email )

Av. Camino a Sta. Teresa 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Mexico City, D.F. 01000, Federal District 01080
Mexico

Tiago Tavares

ITAM ( email )

Camino a Santa Teresa No. 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Ciudad de México
Mexico

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