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.