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Bowling Together by Bowling Alone: Social Capital and COVID-19

Borgonovi, F; Andrieu, E; (2020) Bowling Together by Bowling Alone: Social Capital and COVID-19. Social Science & Medicine , Article 113501. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113501. (In press).

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Abstract

Social capital describes the social bonds that exist within a community and comprises norms of reciprocity and trust as well as social relationships and social networks. We use data from counties in the United States to identify if community level responses to COVID-19 during the early phase of the pandemic (February 17 – May 10) depended on levels of social capital. We find that individuals who lived in counties with high levels of social capital reduced mobility faster than individuals living in counties with low levels of social capital and that they especially reduced mobility directed at retail and recreational activities, i.e. non-essential activities with higher potential risk. Difference-in-difference results show that the adoption of shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs) in a county, an increase in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases and a rainy weather were all associated with a decline in mobility, but that effects were heterogenous and depended on community level social capital. Effects were more pronounced in high social capital communities. Based on these findings, we map the level of vulnerability of communities in the United States to COVID-19: counties with a large share of the population suffering from pre-existing medical conditions and low levels of community level social capital are especially susceptible to experiencing severe health outcomes because of COVID-19.

Type: Article
Title: Bowling Together by Bowling Alone: Social Capital and COVID-19
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113501
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113501
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social capital, COVID-19, mobility, behavioral change, United States, Shelter in place orders, coronavirus
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10114703
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