Policy Contagion During A Pandemic
36 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 28, 2020
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated rapid policy changes at the national level. In response, social distancing policies, which use non-pharmaceutical methods to reduce the spread of the virus by keeping people apart, have been implemented globally. The rapid spread of social distancing policies across the globe invites questions as to how and why countries adopt these social distancing policies, and whether the causal mechanisms driving these policy adoptions are based on internal resources and problem conditions, political institutions and economic conditions, or external factors from other countries. In this paper we leverage daily changes in social distancing policies across countries to understand the impacts of problem characteristics, institutional and economic context, and peer effects on social distancing policy adoption. We find that peer effects, particularly mimicry of geographic neighbors and political peers, drive policy diffusion and shape countries’ policy choices.
Keywords: COVID, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Policy Diffusion, Public Policy
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