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Spreading the Disease: The Role of Culture

Ioannis Laliotis () and Dimitrios Minos

Working Papers from Department of Economics, City University London

Abstract: This paper investigates the \cultural" transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Using West Germany data we observe that in predominantly Catholic regions with stronger social and family ties, the spread and the resulting deaths per capita were much higher compared to non-Catholic ones at the NUTS-3 level. This finding could help explain the rapid spread and high death toll of the virus in some European countries compared to others. Looking at differences within a specific country in a well identified setting eliminates biases due to different social structures, health care systems, specific policies and measures, and testing procedures for the virus that can confound estimates and hinder comparability across countries. Further, we use individual level data as well as Apple mobility data to investigate potential mechanisms. The results highlight the cultural dimension of the spread and could suggest the implementation of targeted mitigation measures in light of disease outbreaks.

Keywords: COVID-19; culture; transmission; morbidity; mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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