Informing the Public About a Pandemic

41 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2020 Last revised: 11 Feb 2021

See all articles by Francis deVericourt

Francis deVericourt

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Huseyin Gurkan

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Shouqiang Wang

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Date Written: February 11, 2021

Abstract

This paper explores how governments may efficiently inform the public about an epidemic to induce compliance with their confinement measures. Using an information design framework, we find the government has an incentive to either downplay or exaggerate the severity of the epidemic if it heavily prioritizes the economy over population health or vice versa. Importantly, we find that the level of economic inequality in the population has an effect on these distortions. The more unequal the disease's economic impact on the population is, the less the government exaggerates and the more it downplays the severity of the epidemic. When the government weighs the economy and population health sufficiently equally, however, the government should always be fully transparent about the severity of the epidemic.

Keywords: Public health, epidemic control, information design, strategic behavior

Suggested Citation

deVericourt, Francis and Gurkan, Huseyin and Wang, Shouqiang, Informing the Public About a Pandemic (February 11, 2021). ESMT Berlin Working Paper No. 20-03 (R2), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3749146 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3749146

Francis DeVericourt

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
Germany

Huseyin Gurkan (Contact Author)

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
Germany

Shouqiang Wang

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

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