Factors of early COVID-19 prevention policy engagement in France and in the United States

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This article highlights the factors that shape the public's early engagement with preventative health policies in the United States and in France. Our analysis explores the role that ideology and cultural worldviews play in shaping individuals' engagement with COVID-19 early preventative measures such as mask wearing, stay-at-home orders, and vaccine intentions. We find that conservative ideology has an indirect effect on engagement in preventative behaviors through conspiracy theory beliefs in both countries. In addition, building on literature that links cultural worldviews and a wide array of public policies (vaccination campaigns, environmental measures), we find that individuals who have more individualistic and hierarchic worldviews are also less likely to engage in preventative behaviors or plan to get vaccinated. Understanding the public response to early preventative measures is essential to preparing for future health crises, as long-term health responses such as vaccinations may take months or years to be deployed. Related Articles: Richey, Sean. 2017. “A Birther and a Truther: The Influence of the Authoritarian Personality on Conspiracy Beliefs.” Politics & Policy 45(3): 465–85. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12206. Tyner, Katie, and Farida Jalalzai. 2022. “Women Prime Ministers and COVID-19: Within-Case Examinations of New Zealand and Iceland.” Politics & Policy 50(6): 1076–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12511. Vince, Joanna. 2022. “A Creeping Crisis When an Urgent Crisis Arises: The Reprioritization of Plastic Pollution Issues during COVID-19.” Politics & Policy 51(1): 26–40. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12512.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-848
Number of pages19
JournalPolitics and Policy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • COVID-19
  • France
  • United States
  • conspiracy beliefs
  • cultural worldviews
  • decision making
  • health crisis
  • health policy
  • ideology
  • prevention policy
  • risk perception
  • vaccines


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