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Socio-Demographic Factors Associated with Self-Protecting Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author

Listed:
  • Papageorge, Nicholas W.

    (Johns Hopkins University)

  • Zahn, Matthew V.

    (Johns Hopkins University)

  • Belot, Michèle

    (Cornell University)

  • van den Broek-Altenburg, Eline

    (University of Vermont)

  • Choi, Syngjoo

    (Seoul National University)

  • Jamison, Julian C.

    (University of Exeter)

  • Tripodi, Egon

    (European University Institute)

Abstract

Disease spread is in part a function of individual behavior. We examine the factors predicting individual behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States using novel data collected by Belot et al. (2020). Among other factors, we show that people with lower income, less flexible work arrangements (e.g., an inability to tele-work) and lack of outside space at home are less likely to engage in behaviors, such as social distancing, that limit the spread of disease. We also find evidence that region, gender and beliefs predict behavior. Broadly, our findings align with typical relationships between health and socio-economic status. Moreover, they suggest that the burden of measures designed to stem the pandemic are unevenly distributed across socio-demographic groups in ways that affect behavior and thus potentially the spread of illness. Policies that assume otherwise are unlikely to be effective or sustainable.

Suggested Citation

  • Papageorge, Nicholas W. & Zahn, Matthew V. & Belot, Michèle & van den Broek-Altenburg, Eline & Choi, Syngjoo & Jamison, Julian C. & Tripodi, Egon, 2020. "Socio-Demographic Factors Associated with Self-Protecting Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic," IZA Discussion Papers 13333, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13333
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19; health; income; behavior;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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