IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Partisanship and the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States


  • Kubinec, Robert

    (Princeton University)

  • Carvalho, Luiz
  • Barceló, Joan

    (New York University - Abu Dhabi)

  • Cheng, Cindy

    (Technical University of Munich)

  • Hartnett, Allison
  • Messerschmidt, Luca
  • Duba, Derek
  • Cottrell, Matthew Sean


In this paper we use a Bayesian latent variable model to identify the effect of sociopolitical covariates on the historical COVID-19 infection rate among the 50 states. The model is calibrated using serology surveys issued by the Center for Disease Control. We show that as of July 14th, there are approximately 10 million people who have been infected with COVID-19 in the United States, and these people are concentrated in states that voted against President Donald Trump in 2016, are less concerned about COVID-19, are relatively unlikely to wear masks, and have fewer economic resources. Second, we find that increased mobility measured by Google cell phones in grocery stores and retail establishments has the highest correlation with subsequent COVID-19 spread, and that mobility is an important mediator of covariates and the spread of the disease. However, although support for President Trump correlates strongly with reduced COVID-19 infections, we find that this result does not come about via reduced mobility. Instead, it would appear more likely that conservative states were spared early outbreaks due to random or exogenous factors, and instead people may be inferring that partisanship has a causal effect on the disease when in fact it is likely a confounded association.

Suggested Citation

  • Kubinec, Robert & Carvalho, Luiz & Barceló, Joan & Cheng, Cindy & Hartnett, Allison & Messerschmidt, Luca & Duba, Derek & Cottrell, Matthew Sean, 2020. "Partisanship and the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States," SocArXiv jp4wk, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:jp4wk
    DOI: 10.31219/

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tasnim, Samia & Hossain, Md Mahbub & Mazumder, Hoimonty, 2020. "Impact of rumors or misinformation on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in social media," SocArXiv uf3zn, Center for Open Science.
    2. Austin L. Wright & Konstantin Sonin & Jesse Driscoll & Jarnickae Wilson, 2020. "Poverty and Economic Dislocation Reduce Compliance with COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Protocols," Working Papers 2020-40, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Health

    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:osf:socarx:jp4wk. 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: (OSF). 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.