DP16906 The Political Economy of Early COVID-19 Interventions in US States

Author(s): Martin Gonzalez-Eiras, Dirk Niepelt
Publication Date: January 2022
Keyword(s): COVID-19, lockdown, Politics
JEL(s): I18
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Political Economy
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16906

We investigate how politico-economic factors shaped government responses to the spread of COVID-19. Our simple framework uses epidemiological, economic and politico-economic arguments. Confronting the theory with US state level data we find strong evidence for partisanship even when we control for fundamentals including the electorate's political views. Moreover, we detect an important role for the proximity of elections which we interpret as indicative of career concerns. Finally, we find suggestive evidence for complementarities between voluntary activity reductions and government imposed restrictions.