EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Rugged Individualism and Collective (In)action During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Samuel Bazzi, Martin Fiszbein and Mesay Gebresilasse

No 15232, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Rugged individualism---the combination of individualism and anti-statism---is a prominent feature of American culture with deep roots in the country's history of frontier settlement. Today, rugged individualism is more prevalent in counties with greater total frontier experience (TFE) during the era of westward expansion. While individualism may be conducive to innovation, it can also undermine collective action, with potentially adverse social consequences. We show that America's frontier culture hampered the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across U.S. counties, greater TFE is associated with less social distancing and mask use as well as weaker local government effort to control the virus. We argue that frontier culture lies at the root of several more proximate explanations for the weak collective response to public health risks, including a lack of civic duty, partisanship, and distrust in science.

Keywords: American Frontier; COVID-19; Individualism; Social distancing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H12 H23 H75 I12 I18 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-soc
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15232 (application/pdf)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

Related works:
Working Paper: Rugged Individualism and Collective (In)action During the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Rugged Individualism and Collective (In)action During the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15232

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.cepr.org/ ... rs/dp.php?dpno=15232

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2021-06-15
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15232