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Trust and Compliance to Public Health Policies in Times of COVID-19

Olivier Bargain and Ulugbek Aminjonov

Bordeaux Economics Working Papers from Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA)

Abstract: While degraded trust and cohesion within a country are often shown to have large socio-economic impacts, they can also have dramatic consequences when compliance is required for collective survival. We illustrate this point in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Policy re-sponses all over the world aim to reduce social interaction and limit contagion. Using data on human mobility and political trust at regional level in Europe, we examine whether the com-pliance to these containment policies depends on the level of trust in policy makers prior to the crisis. Using a double difference approach around the time of lockdown announcements, we find that high-trust regions decrease their mobility related to non-necessary activities significantly more than low-trust regions. We also exploit country and time variation in treatment using the daily strictness of national policies. The efficiency of policy stringency in terms of mobility reduction significantly increases with trust. The trust effect is nonlinear and increases with the degree of stringency. We assess how the impact of trust on mobility potentially translates in terms of mortality growth rate.

Keywords: COVID-19; Political trust; Policy stringency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E71 H12 I12 I18 Z18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-soc
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