NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Jacob C. Conway

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Stanford University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020Polarization and Public Health: Partisan Differences in Social Distancing during the Coronavirus Pandemic
with Hunt Allcott, Levi Boxell, Matthew Gentzkow, Michael Thaler, David Y. Yang: w26946
We study partisan differences in Americans’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Political leaders and media outlets on the right and left have sent divergent messages about the severity of the crisis, which could impact the extent to which Republicans and Democrats engage in social distancing and other efforts to reduce disease transmission. We develop a simple model of a pandemic response with heterogeneous agents that clarifies the causes and consequences of heterogeneous responses. We use location data from a large sample of smartphones to show that areas with more Republicans engage in less social distancing, controlling for other factors including state policies, population density, and local COVID cases and deaths. We then present new survey evidence of significant gaps between Republ...
 
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