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Political beliefs affect compliance with Covid-19 social distancing orders

Social distancing is vital to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. We use geolocation data to document that political beliefs present a significant limitation to the effectiveness of state-level social distancing orders. Residents in Republican counties are less likely to completely stay at home after a state order has been implemented relative to those in Democratic counties. We also find that Democrats are less likely to respond to a state-level order when it is issued by a Republican governor relative to one issued by a Democratic governor. These results are robust to controlling for other factors including time, geography, local Covid-19 cases and deaths, and other social distancing orders. We conclude that bipartisan support is essential to maximize the effectiveness of social distancing orders.

Lead investigator:

Marcus Painter

Affiliation:

Saint Louis University

Primary topic:

Attitudes, media & governance

Region of data collection:

North America

Country of data collection

USA

Status of data collection

Complete

Type of data being collected:

From private company

Unit of real-time data collection

Individual

Start date

1/2020

End date

4/2020

Frequency

Daily

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