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Ebola and State Legitimacy

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Publication details

JournalEconomic Journal
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Jul 2018
DatePublished (current) - 8 Jan 2019
Issue number621
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)2064-2089
Original languageEnglish


We exploit the West African Ebola epidemic as an event that necessitated the provision of a common-interest public good, Ebola control measures, to empirically investigate the effect of public good provision on state legitimacy. Our results show that state legitimacy, measured by trust in government authorities, increased with exposure to the epidemic. We argue, supported by results from SMS-message-based surveys, that a potentially important channel underlying this finding is a greater valuation of control measures in regions with intense transmission. Evidence further indicates that the effects of Ebola exposure are more pronounced in areas where governments responded relatively robustly to the epidemic.

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