IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ebola and State Legitimacy


  • Matthias Flückiger
  • Markus Ludwig
  • Ali Sina Önder


We exploit the West African Ebola epidemic as an event that necessitated the provision of a common-interest public good, Ebola control measures, to empirically investigate the effect of public good provision on state legitimacy. Our results show that state legitimacy, measured by trust in government authorities, increased with exposure to the epidemic. We argue, supported by results from SMS-message-based surveys, that a potentially important channel underlying this finding is a greater valuation of control measures in regions with intense transmission. Evidence further indicates that the effects of Ebola exposure are more pronounced in areas where governments responded relatively robustly to the epidemic.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Flückiger & Markus Ludwig & Ali Sina Önder, 2019. "Ebola and State Legitimacy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(621), pages 2064-2089.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:econjl:v:129:y:2019:i:621:p:2064-2089.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fair, C. Christine & Kuhn, Patrick & Malhotra, Neil & Shapiro, Jacob, 2017. "Natural Disasters and Political Engagement: Evidence from the 2010-11 Pakistani Floods," Research Papers 3549, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    2. Marcella Alsan & Marianne Wanamaker, 2018. "Tuskegee and the Health of Black Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(1), pages 407-455.
    3. Blair, Robert A. & Morse, Benjamin S. & Tsai, Lily L., 2017. "Public health and public trust: Survey evidence from the Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in Liberia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 89-97.
    4. Cole, Shawn & Healy, Andrew & Werker, Eric, 2012. "Do voters demand responsive governments? Evidence from Indian disaster relief," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 167-181.
    5. Mariaflavia Harari & Eliana La Ferrara, 2012. "Conflict, Climate and Cells: A disaggregated analysis," Working Papers 461, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    6. Marc L Hutchison & Kristin Johnson, 2011. "Capacity to trust? Institutional capacity, conflict, and political trust in Africa, 2000–2005," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 48(6), pages 737-752, November.
    7. Jorge Gallego, 2015. "Natural Disasters and Clientelism: the Case of Floods and Landslides in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo 012537, Universidad del Rosario.
    8. Marshall Burke & Erick Gong & Kelly Jones, 2015. "Income Shocks and HIV in Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(585), pages 1157-1189, June.
    9. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117.
    10. Melissa Dell & Pablo Querubin, 2018. "Nation Building Through Foreign Intervention: Evidence from Discontinuities in Military Strategies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 701-764.
    11. Fair, C. Christine & Kuhn, Patrick M. & Malhotra, Neil & Shapiro, Jacob N., 2017. "Natural Disasters and Political Engagement: Evidence from the 2010-11 Pakistani Floods," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 12(1), pages 99-141, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Barry Eichengreen ⓡ & Cevat Giray Aksoy ⓡ & Orkun Saka, 2020. "Revenge of the Experts: Will Covid-19 Renew or Diminish Public Trust in Science?," NBER Working Papers 28112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bargain, Olivier & Aminjonov, Ulugbek, 2020. "Trust and Compliance to Public Health Policies in Times of COVID-19," IZA Discussion Papers 13205, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Filipe R. Campante & Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ruben Durante, 2020. "The Virus of Fear: The Political Impact of Ebola in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 26897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Olivier BARGAIN & Ulugbek AMINJONOV, 2020. "Trust and Compliance to Public Health Policies in Times of COVID-19," Bordeaux Economics Working Papers 2020-06, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    5. Gallego, Jorge & Prem, Mounu & Vargas, Juan F., 2020. "Corruption in the Times of Pandemia," Working papers 43, Red Investigadores de Economía.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:econjl:v:129:y:2019:i:621:p:2064-2089.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.