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Citizens and the state during crisis: public authority, private behaviour and the Covid-19 pandemic in France

Anderson, Chris ORCID: 0000-0003-3198-4172 (2022) Citizens and the state during crisis: public authority, private behaviour and the Covid-19 pandemic in France. European Journal of Political Research. ISSN 0304-4130

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1475-6765.12524


How do democratic states induce citizens to comply with government directives during times of acute crisis? Focusing on the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in France, I argue that the tools states use to activate adherence to public health advice have predictable and variable effects on citizens’ willingness to change their routine private behaviours, both because of variation in their levels of restrictiveness but also because of differences in people's political motivations to comply with them. Using data collected in March 2020, I show that people's reports of changes in their behavioural routines are affected by the signals governments send, how they send them and the level of enforcement. I find that a nationally televised speech by President Macron calling for cooperative behaviour and announcing new restrictions elevated people's willingness to comply. Moreover, while co-partisanship with the incumbent government increased compliance reports before the President's primetime television address, presidential approval boosted reports of compliance after.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 12:30
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2022 11:57

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