Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite... Contamine? Estimating the impact of French municipal elections on COVID-19 spread in France
524/2020 Guilhem Cassan and Marc Sangnier
We investigate the extent to which March 15, 2020 municipal elections contributed to the COVID-19 epidemics in France. We first predict each departement’s own dynamics using information up to the election to calibrate a standard logistic model. We then take advantage of electoral turnout differences between departements to identify the impact of the election on prediction errors in hospitalizations. We report a detrimental effect of the election in locations that were at relatively advanced stages of the epidemics by the time of the election. Estimates suggest that elections accounted for about 15% of all hospitalizations by the end of March.