Fighting the Zika Virus: How Disease Affects Social Behavior and Attitudes Toward the Government in Colombia
Gibson Hall 296
How does the appearance of a disease like the Zika Virus affect social behavior and attitudes toward the government? We examine these questions in the context of the Colombian armed conflict by analyzing data from a unique survey of households in conflict-affected municipalities carried out in the middle of 2016. Although Zika may be perceived as a failure of the government and public health system, to the extent that government responses are adequate, Zika may present an opportunity to gain public trust relative to illegal armed actors. Our analysis highlights which kinds of individuals in which kinds of towns are most likely to blame the government for inadequate responses to the epidemic. We also examine public attitudes about related reproductive health decisions as well as whether community and local governance capacity mediates fear of the disease. The results can inform public health policies and how disease responses relate to governance during a peace process by influencing trust in institutions.