Leadership, Public Health Messaging, and Containment of Mobility in Mexico During the COVID-19 Pandemic

60 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2021 Last revised: 4 May 2021

See all articles by Sandra Aguilar-Gomez

Sandra Aguilar-Gomez

Columbia University

Eva Arceo-Gomez

Universidad Iberoamericana

Elia De la Cruz Toledo

Loyola Marymount University

Pedro J. Torres López

Universidad Iberoamericana

Date Written: February 15, 2021

Abstract

The effectiveness of wide-spread policy measures in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic hinges upon compliance with the ordinances. This study explores how leaders’ discourse relates to compliance with stay-at-home orders to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico. We use municipality-level mobility data from geolocation events of smartphone users and daily briefings from the President and Health Minister Dr. Hugo López-Gatell. Using quantile regressions, sentiment analysis and topic modelling, we shed light on the dynamics between political discourse and containment of mobility. We find discrepancies between the content and tone of the President and those of the COVID-19 czar. These contrasts translate into differences on the association between the content of the speeches and mobility patterns. Our findings, using a LASSO penalized quantile regression, indicate that when President AMLO's discourse is positive, mobility tends to decrease, but when the Health Minister's discourse is positive, mobility tends to increase. Across the distribution of mobility changes, those in the inter-quantile range are more responsive to the discourse. We also find that the discourse's association to mobility is mediated by awareness of COVID-related topics and by individuals’ political affiliation. Lastly, we show that mobility patterns prior to the conferences are not causing a change in discourse which clears concerns over reverse causality.

Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, public health messaging, geographical mobility, non-pharmaceutical prevention measures, compliance, Mexico

JEL Classification: D83, D91, H11, H12, I12, I18, O54

Suggested Citation

Aguilar-Gomez, Sandra and Arceo-Gomez, Eva and De la Cruz Toledo, Elia and Torres López, Pedro Javier, Leadership, Public Health Messaging, and Containment of Mobility in Mexico During the COVID-19 Pandemic (February 15, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3786398 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3786398

Sandra Aguilar-Gomez

Columbia University ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.sandraaguilargomez.com

Eva Arceo-Gomez

Universidad Iberoamericana ( email )

Prol. Paseo de la Reforma, #880
Lomas de Santa Fe
Mexico, Distrito Federal 01210
Mexico
55595040004759 (Phone)
01219 (Fax)

Elia De la Cruz Toledo (Contact Author)

Loyola Marymount University ( email )

7900 Loyola Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
United States

Pedro Javier Torres López

Universidad Iberoamericana ( email )

Prol. Paseo de la Reforma, #880
Lomas de Santa Fe
Mexico, Distrito Federal 01210
Mexico

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
138
Abstract Views
953
rank
253,098
PlumX Metrics