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
Date Written: May 7, 2021
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: Suggested Citation