NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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John M. Barrios

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

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2020Civic Capital and Social Distancing during the Covid-19 Pandemic
with Efraim Benmelech, Yael V. Hochberg, Paola Sapienza, Luigi Zingales: w27320
The success of non-pharmaceutical interventions to contain pandemics often depends greatly upon voluntary compliance with government guidelines. What explains variation in voluntary compliance? Using mobile phone and survey data, we show that during the early phases of COVID-19, voluntary social distancing was higher when individuals exhibit a higher sense of civic duty. This is true for U.S. individuals, U.S. counties, and European regions. We also show that after U.S. states began re-opening, social distancing remained more prevalent in high civic capital counties. Our evidence points to the importance of civic capital in designing public policy responses to pandemics.
May 2020Launching with a Parachute: The Gig Economy and New Business Formation
with Yael V. Hochberg, Hanyi Yi: w27183
The introduction of the gig economy creates opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs to supplement their income in downside states of the world and provides insurance in the form of an income fallback in the event of failure. We present a conceptual framework supporting the notion that the gig economy may serve as an income supplement and as insurance against entrepreneurial-related income volatility, and utilize the arrival of the on-demand, platform-enabled gig economy in the form of the staggered rollout of ridehailing in U.S. cities to examine the effect of the arrival of the gig economy on new business formation. The introduction of gig opportunities is associated with an increase of ~5% in the number of new business registrations in the local area, and a correspondingly-sized increas...
April 2020Risk Perception Through the Lens of Politics in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic
with Yael Hochberg: w27008
Even when, objectively speaking, death is on the line, partisan bias still colors beliefs about facts. We show that a higher share of Trump voters in a county is associated with lower perceptions of risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Trump voter share rises, individuals search less for information on the virus, and engage in less social distancing behavior, as measured by smartphone location patterns. These patterns persist in the face of state-level mandates to close schools and businesses or to “stay home,” and reverse only when conservative politicians are exposed and the White House releases federal social distancing guidelines.
February 2020The Cost of Convenience: Ridehailing and Traffic Fatalities
with Yael Hochberg, Hanyi Yi: w26783
We examine the effect of the introduction of ridehailing in U.S. cities on fatal traffic accidents. The arrival of ridehailing is associated with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of fatalities and fatal accidents, for both vehicle occupants and pedestrians. The effects persist when controlling for proxies for smartphone adoption patterns. Consistent with ridehailing increasing congestion and road usage, we find that introduction is associated with an increase in arterial vehicle miles traveled, excess gas consumption, and annual hours of delay in traffic. On the extensive margin, ridehailing’s arrival is also associated with an increase in new car registrations. These effects are higher in cities with prior higher use of public transportation and carpools, consistent with a s...
 
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