Spreading the Disease: Protest in Times of Pandemics
49 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: 2021
This study analyzes the impact of COVID-19 deniers on the spread of COVID-19 in Germany. In a first step, we establish a link between regional proxies of COVID-19 deniers and infection rates. We then estimate the causal impact of large anti-lockdown protests on the spread of COVID-19 using an event study framework. Employing novel data on bus stops of travel companies specialized in driving protesters to these gatherings, and exploiting the timing of two large-scale demonstrations in November 2020, we find sizable increases in infection rates in protesters' origin regions after these demonstrations. Individual-level evidence supports the main results by documenting that COVID-19 deniers engage less in health protection behavior. Our results contribute to the debate about the public health costs of individual behavior that has detrimental externalities for the society.
Keywords: COVID-19 deniers, protests, public health
JEL Classification: I18, I12, D62, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation