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Learning during a crisis: The SARS epidemic in Taiwan

Daniel Bennett (), Chun-Fang Chiang () and Anup Malani ()

Journal of Development Economics, 2015, vol. 112, issue C, 1-18

Abstract: SARS struck Taiwan in 2003, causing a national crisis. Many people feared that SARS would spread through the health care system, and outpatient visits fell by more than 30% in the course of a few weeks. We examine how both public information and the behavior and opinions of peers contributed to this reaction. We identify a peer effect through a difference-in-difference comparison of longtime residents and recent arrivals, who are less socially connected. Although several forms of social interaction may contribute to this pattern, social learning is a plausible explanation for our finding. We find that people respond to both public information and to their peers. In a dynamic simulation based on the regressions, social interactions substantially magnify the response to SARS.

Keywords: SARS; Social learning; Peer effects; Prevalence response; Economic epidemiology; Crisis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Working Paper: Learning During a Crisis: the SARS Epidemic in Taiwan (2011) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:deveco:v:112:y:2015:i:c:p:1-18

DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2014.09.006

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