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Unmasking partisanship: Polarization undermines public response to collective risk

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  • Milosh, Maria
  • Painter, Marcus
  • Sonin, Konstantin
  • Van Dijcke, David
  • Wright, Austin L.

Abstract

Political polarization may undermine public policy response to collective risk, especially in periods of crisis when political actors have incentives to manipulate public perceptions. We study these dynamics in the U.S., focusing on how partisanship has influenced the use of face masks to stem the spread of COVID-19. Using a variety of approaches, we find partisanship is the single most important predictor of mask use and local policy interventions do not offset this relationship.

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  • Milosh, Maria & Painter, Marcus & Sonin, Konstantin & Van Dijcke, David & Wright, Austin L., 2021. "Unmasking partisanship: Polarization undermines public response to collective risk," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 204(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:204:y:2021:i:c:s0047272721001742
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2021.104538
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    2. Bazzi, Samuel & Fiszbein, Martin & Gebresilasse, Mesay, 2021. "“Rugged individualism” and collective (in)action during the COVID-19 pandemic," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    3. Adam Brzezinski & Valentin Kecht & David Dijcke & Austin L. Wright, 2021. "Science skepticism reduced compliance with COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies in the United States," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 5(11), pages 1519-1527, November.
    4. Castriota, Stefano & Rondinella, Sandro & Tonin, Mirco, 2023. "Does social capital matter? A study of hit-and-run in US counties," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 329(C).
    5. Leromain, Elsa & Vannoorenberghe, Gonzague, 2022. "Voting under threat: Evidence from the 2020 French local elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    6. Danat Valizade & Manhal Ali & Mark Stuart, 2023. "Inequalities in the disruption of paid work during the Covid‐19 pandemic: A world systems analysis of core, semi‐periphery, and periphery states," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 189-213, April.
    7. Mellacher, Patrick, 2023. "The impact of corona populism: Empirical evidence from Austria and theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 209(C), pages 113-140.
    8. Austin L. Wright & Geet Chawla & Luke Chen & Anthony Farmer, 2020. "Tracking Mask Mandates during the COVID-19 Pandemic," Working Papers 2020-104, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    9. Justin T. Huang & Masha Krupenkin & David Rothschild & Julia Lee Cunningham, 2023. "The cost of anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 7(5), pages 682-695, May.
    10. Floyd Jiuyun Zhang, 2023. "Political endorsement by Nature and trust in scientific expertise during COVID-19," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 7(5), pages 696-706, May.
    11. Cooper, Daniel & Garga, Vaishali & Luengo-Prado, María José & Tang, Jenny, 2023. "The mitigating effect of masks on the spread of Covid-19," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 48(C).
    12. Ambrocio, Gene & Hasan, Iftekhar, 2022. "Belief polarization and Covid-19," Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 10/2022, Bank of Finland.
    13. Sebastian Calónico & Rafael Di Tella & Juan Cruz Lopez del Valle, 2023. "The Political Economy of a “Miracle Cure”: The Case of Nebulized Ibuprofen and its Diffusion in Argentina," NBER Working Papers 31781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Proaño, Christian R. & Kukacka, Jiri & Makarewicz, Tomasz, 2024. "Belief-driven dynamics in a behavioral SEIRD macroeconomic model with sceptics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 217(C), pages 312-333.
    15. Young, Dannagal G. & Rasheed, Huma & Bleakley, Amy & Langbaum, Jessica B., 2022. "The politics of mask-wearing: Political preferences, reactance, and conflict aversion during COVID," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 298(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Partisanship; Polarization; COVID-19;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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