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American Politics Research ; : 1532673X221106933, 2022.
Article in English | Sage | ID: covidwho-1886824

ABSTRACT

Informed by the public health policymaking literature, this study?s objective is to identify scientific, political, social, economic, and external factors related to U.S. governors? decisions to issue stay-at-home orders (SAHOs) in response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health experts advocate for social distancing to slow the spread of infectious diseases, but government mandates to social distance can impose substantial social and economic costs. This study uses event history analysis to investigate the issuance of COVID-19-related gubernatorial SAHOs during a 41-day period in the 50 U.S. states. The findings indicate that scientific, political, and economic factors were associated with the issuance of SAHOs, but that external considerations played the largest role, particularly those related to the timing of other governors? decisions. This study offers evidence about how some U.S. political leaders balance public health concerns against other considerations and, more broadly, how state governments address crisis-level issues.

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