This paper uses the exogenous shock generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the relative government response as an informative case in investigating the factors able to affect policy efficacy. Lockdown measures have been widely adopted to limit the diffusion of COVID-19, indirectly supporting the capacity of the hospital system to face the pandemic. Lockdown obliges people to change their social behaviour significantly, and consequently is a matter of serious concern amongst the population. For this reason, how people react to lockdown is of the utmost importance, since failure to observe it properly will be of little benefit in reducing contagion. In this rationale, factors correlated with individuals' behaviour could affect the efficacy of such measures. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether differences in institutional quality and social capital are correlated with the efficacy of lockdown measures, taking the Italian provinces as a case study. Using a quantitative analysis employing F-GLS estimators, our results suggest that both local social capital and institutional quality have affected the efficiency of lockdown measures in Italian provinces. In general terms these factors contribute to forming the set of incentives able to promote individual behaviour that is in closer compliance with government choices. In this perspective, institutional quality and social capital can be considered factors able to influence the efficacy of policies.
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