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Words can hurt: how political communication can change the pace of an epidemic

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  • Mariani, Lucas Argentieri
  • Gagete-Miranda, Jessica
  • Rettl, Paula

Abstract

Compliance with mandated health measures has substantial effects on public health, particularly during epidemics. We analyze how political leaders influence such compliance by exploiting President Bolsonaro’s display of skepticism towards COVID-19 during pro-government demonstrations in Brazil. We compare trends of the disease spread around the demonstrations’ date in municipalities with different levels of support for the President. After the demonstrations, the disease spread faster in pro-Bolsonaro municipalities. The results are driven not only by people’s agglomerating during the demonstrations but also by lower compliance with social distancing. Finally, we rule out that pre-existing differences in health-related behavior explain the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariani, Lucas Argentieri & Gagete-Miranda, Jessica & Rettl, Paula, 2020. "Words can hurt: how political communication can change the pace of an epidemic," OSF Preprints ps2wx, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:osfxxx:ps2wx
    DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/ps2wx
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    Cited by:

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    2. Guglielmo Briscese & Maddalena Grignani & Stephen Stapleton, 2022. "Crises and Political Polarization: Towards a Better Understanding of the Timing and Impact of Shocks and Media," Papers 2202.12339, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2023.
    3. Attar, M. Aykut & Tekin-Koru, Ayça, 2022. "Latent social distancing: Identification, causes and consequences," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 46(1).
    4. Peter A.G. van Bergeijk, 2021. "Pandemic Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 20401, December.
    5. Sergei Guriev & Elias Papaioannou, 2022. "The Political Economy of Populism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 753-832, September.
    6. Joebson Maurilio Alves dos Santos & Tatiane Almeida de Menezes & Rodrigo Gomes de Arruda & Flávia Emília Cavalcante Valença Fernandes, 2023. "Climate influences on COVID‐19 prevalence rates: An application of a panel data spatial model," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 456-473, April.
    7. Angelo Cozzubo & Javier Herrera & François Roubaud & Mireille Razafindrakoto, 2021. "El impacto de políticas diferenciadas de cuarentena sobre la mortalidad por COVID-19: el caso de Brasil y Perú," Working Papers DT/2021/05, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    8. Maxim Ananyev & Michael Poyker & Yuan Tian, 2021. "The safest time to fly: pandemic response in the era of Fox News," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(3), pages 775-802, July.
    9. Raphael Bruce & Alexsandros Cavgias & Luis Meloni & Mario Remigio, 2021. "Under Pressure: Women's Leadership During the COVID-19 Crisis," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2021_19, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    10. Phalippou, Ludovic & Wu, Betty, 2023. "The association between the proportion of Brexiters and COVID-19 death rates in England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 323(C).
    11. Bruce, Raphael & Cavgias, Alexsandros & Meloni, Luis & Remígio, Mário, 2022. "Under pressure: Women’s leadership during the COVID-19 crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    12. Cavgias, Alexsandros & Bruce, Raphael & Meloni, Luis, 2023. "Policy enforcement in the presence of organized crime: Evidence from Rio de Janeiro," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C).

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