“To vote, or not to vote? Electoral Campaigns and the Spread of COVID-19”

with Marco Le Moglie

Revised and resubmitted to the European Journal of Political Economy

Abstract: The possibility to run fair electoral campaigns is necessary for the legitimization of modern
democracies through elections. Yet, during a pandemic, the risk that electoral campaigns would
enhance the spread of the disease is substantive. In this paper, we estimate the causal impact
of electoral campaigns on the spread of COVID-19. Exploiting plausibly exogenous variation
in the schedule of local elections across Italy, we show that the electoral campaign preceding
this latter led to a significant worsening of the epidemiological situation related to the disease.
Our results strongly highlight the importance of undertaking stringent measures along the entire
electoral process to minimize its epidemiological consequences.

Link:  Latest version (August 2021)

Media: Domani