Informing Government Response to COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa

Thursday, October 1, 2020
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Online, via Zoom: REGISTER


**Please note all CDDRL events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone


About the event: Governments in sub-Saharan Africa face tough choices in COVID-19 policy response. They have scarce resources but are under intense pressure to balance pandemic control with ensuring people have basic necessities -- while also staving off violence and political instability among distrustful publics. Until a vaccine is widely available, the primary way to combat COVID-19 is encouraging cooperation with non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Our research provides African governments with evidence on how to increase voluntary cooperation with NPIs. I will present preliminary results from ongoing data collection efforts designed to provide policy-relevant information for government decision makers in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. Evidence from endorsement, list, and vignette experiments offer insights into citizen compliance with health policies, the gap between individual attitudes and perceptions of peers' behavior, and the dangers of COVID-related misinformation.


Leah R. Rosenzweig

About the speaker: Leah is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy Development and Rule of Law (CDDRL) and the Graduate School of Business in the Golub Capital Social Impact Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Her research centers on topics in comparative politics and the political economy of development. Her focus on the micro-foundations of political behavior to gain leverage on macro-political questions. How do autocrats survive? How can citizen-state relations be improved and government accountability strengthened? Can shared identities mitigate out-group animosity? Adopting a multi-method approach, use lab-in-the-field and online experiments, surveys, and in-depth field research to examine these questions in sub-Saharan Africa and the US. Her current book project reexamines the role of elections in authoritarian endurance and explains why citizens vote in elections with foregone conclusions in Tanzania and Uganda. Moving beyond conventional paradigms, her theory describes how a social norm of voting and accompanying social sanctions from peers contribute to high turnout in semi-authoritarian elections. In other ongoing projects, Her study is how national and pan-African identification stimulated through national sports games influence attitudes toward refugees, the relationship between identity, emotions, and belief in fake news, and how researchers can use Facebook as a tool for social science research.