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How to Get Away with Spreading COVID-19: Political Connections and Pandemic Response

Robert Kubinec, Haillie Na-Kyung Lee and Andrey Tomashevskiy

No 68fpr, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: While the aim of COVID-19 policies is to suppress the pandemic, many fear that the burden of the restrictions will fall more heavily on less privileged groups. We show one potential mechanism for COVID-19 responses to increase inequality by examining the intersection of business restrictions and business political connections. Using an online survey of 2,735 business employees and managers in Ukraine, Egypt and Venezuela over the summer of 2020, we show that businesses with political connections to government officials were significantly less likely to shut down as a result of COVID-19 policies. This finding suggests that measures designed to mitigate COVID-19 are less effective in countries with a weak rule of law if politically connected firms are able to circumvent restrictions by leveraging political connections to receive preferential treatment. In addition, politically-connected firms are no more likely--and sometimes even less likely--to engage in social-distancing policies to mitigate the pandemic despite the fact that they are more likely to remain open.

Date: 2020-12-21
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol, nep-soc and nep-tra
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DOI: 10.31219/

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