NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Michael Thaler

Princeton University
Department of Economics
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Princeton, NJ 08544

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Institutional Affiliation: Princeton 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, Jacob C. Conway, Matthew Gentzkow, 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 engaged in less social distancing, controlling for other factors including public policies, population density, and local COVID cases and deaths. We then present new survey evidence of significant gaps at the indiv...

Published: Hunt Allcott & Levi Boxell & Jacob Conway & Matthew Gentzkow & Michael Thaler & David Yang, 2020. "Polarization and Public Health: Partisan Differences in Social Distancing during the Coronavirus Pandemic," Journal of Public Economics, .

 
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