Electoral Repercussions of a Pandemic: Evidence from the 2009 H1N1 Outbreak

48 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2020 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021

See all articles by Emilio Gutierrez

Emilio Gutierrez

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Jaakko Meriläinen

ITAM, Centro de Investigación Económica

Adrian Rubli

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Date Written: November 1, 2021

Abstract

Do electorally concerned politicians have an incentive to contain epidemics when public-health interventions may have an economic cost? We revisit the first pandemic of the 21st century and study the electoral consequences of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak in Mexico. Leveraging detailed administrative data and a difference-in-differences approach, we document a statistically significant, negative effect of local epidemic outbreaks on the electoral performance of the governing party. The effect (i) is not driven by differences in containment policies; (ii) implies that the epidemic may have shifted outcomes of close electoral races; (iii) persists at least three years after the pandemic. Part of the negative impact on incumbent vote share can be attributed to a decrease in turnout, and the findings are also in line with voters learning about the effectiveness of government policies or incumbent competence.

Keywords: elections, H1N1, pandemics, retrospective voting, voting behavior

JEL Classification: D72, I18

Suggested Citation

Gutierrez, Emilio and Meriläinen, Jaakko and Rubli, Adrian, Electoral Repercussions of a Pandemic: Evidence from the 2009 H1N1 Outbreak (November 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3667065 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3667065

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

Jaakko Meriläinen

ITAM, Centro de Investigación Económica ( email )

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

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/jaakkomerilainen/main

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

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
371
Abstract Views
1,684
rank
112,203
PlumX Metrics