Complying with Anti-COVID Policies. Subnational Variations and their Correlates

Italy was the first European country to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, experimenting and fine-tuning its policies against the virus. In November 2020, the Italian government introduced a color-coding system, adapting its constraining measures to the local epidemiological situation. 

In this research note, I first use mobility data to check the effects of this policy, and then analyse their geographical variation for similar levels of constraint as a proxy for its local enforcement. Finally, I explore some ex-ante and ex-post correlates of greater or lesser adherence to the mobility constraints in regard to the further spread of the virus. Contrary to some stereotypes, the level of compliance with the new anti-COVID policy was reasonably high, and in any case sufficient to curb the pandemic.

Marco Giuliani (2022) Complying with Anti-COVID Policies. Subnational Variations and their Correlates. Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche 2: 241-268, DOI: 10.1483/104976


COVID-19 counterfactual evidence. Estimating the
effects of school closures

School closure

Scholars have started to estimate the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce the health impact of COVID-19.
However, the empirical evidence is highly contested, and since it is not known exactly what would have happened without those measures, political élites are left free to give credit to the voices that they prefer the most.
We argue that any sensible assessment of the effectiveness of anti-COVID policies requires methodological reflection on what is actually comparable, and how to approximate the ideal “method of difference” theorized by John Stuart Mill.
By evaluating the effectiveness of school closures as an anti-COVID policy, we provide two examples in which appropriate counterfactuals are inductively discovered rather than selected a priori. In the first one, we use Coarsened Exact Matching (CEM) in a cross-country setting, while in the second one, we implement the Synthetic Control Method in a within-country analysis. The article highlights the methodological advantages of including these techniques in the toolbox of policy scholars, while both examples confirm the effectiveness of school closures.

Marco Giuliani (2022) COVID-19 counterfactual evidence. Estimating the effects of school closures, Policy Studies, DOI: 10.1080/01442872.2022.2103527



Voting between two global crises. A NUTS3-level analysis of retrospective voting in four South-European countries


Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain went several times to the polls during the 2010–2019 decade. It was a period characterised by the strenuous effort to recover the economic situation before the onset of the Great Recession; an effort, however, often constrained by externally imposed austerity policies, and by a refugee crisis that contributed to the growing salience of the immigration issue. The article adopts an original sub-national approach to examine if and how the economic situation and the incidence of immigration affected the electoral outcomes in the four South-European countries. Adopting a theory of retrospective behaviour, the research reported in the article confirms the association between employment and immigration levels, on the one hand, and punishment of the incumbent government on the other. However, the electoral effects of immigration are conditioned by the partisan composition of the government and, under centre-right cabinets, are aggravated by a negative economic conjuncture.

Marco Giuliani (2022). Voting between two global crises. A NUTS3-level analysis of retrospective voting in four South-European countries, “Italian Political Science Review”,
DOI: 10.1017/ipo.2022.9