'Spreading the Disease: Protest in Times of Pandemics' Revisited
24 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 14, 2021
This short paper analyzes the suggested positive impact of anti-Covid-19-policy protesters of two large protests in Germany on the county-specific 7-day incidence rate of Covid-19 of the discussion paper “Spreading the Disease” by Lange and Monscheuer (2021), LM henceforth. We firstly identify the fundamental assumptions of their analysis, secondly use four different datasets to test the validity of those fundamental assumptions empirically, and thirdly assess the importance of their fundamental assumptions by aiming to replicate their results with different data. Although a public presentation of a critic of a mere discussion paper is quite unusual, an independent and thorough review became necessary because at least 50 major German news publishers spread LM’s allegations to millions of citizens within a few days after publication of the discussion paper. Since then, the discussion paper’s results have been used in political agitation potentially restricting the freedom of assembly. Because the freedom of assembly is a fundamental right, any claim restricting this freedom of assembly should be considered with special caution. As we find no empirical support on the impact of anti-Covid-19-policy protesters on the 7-day incidence rate of Covid-19, restrictions of the freedom of assembly for protests lack a sophisticated reasoning derived from an analysis of those protests.
Keywords: Covid-19, Freedom of Assembly, Protests, Public Health
JEL Classification: I18, I12, D62, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation