Accepted paper:

Understanding the Effects of Liberian Ebola-related Quarantines on Government Trust


Theodora-Ismene Gizelis (University of Essex)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores the effects of Ebola related quarantines on civilian trust, using surveys in a community under quarantine and in a comparable community without quarantine. Early findings suggest that negative perceptions were exacerbated towards the police rather than the military.

Paper long abstract:

Quarantines were at the forefront of government response to Ebola in Liberia. The quarantines are a part of broader set of contentious policies that may have the negative effect of diminishing public trust in the government and in some cases even incite violence. To understand the effects of the quarantines on civilian trust in the government, we implemented two rounds of surveys in a community that received an Ebola related quarantine and in a comparable community that did not. In August 2014, the army quarantined West Point for several days, while Peace Island was not. The research design leverages a survey conducted in 2012 in both West Point and Peace Island that shows both communities to exhibit similar levels of trust in government, as well as wealth, education, and other demographic variables. By comparing changes in perceptions from before the Ebola epidemic to after the quarantines between the two communities West Point and Peace Island, the study estimates the effect of the quarantines on citizens' trust in government. Early findings suggest that some perceptions of the police and military decreased after Ebola. However, negative perceptions were exacerbated among the police rather than the military. Preferences for the police to respond to crime declined after Ebola, but remained the same for the military. In fact, people felt safer with military presence.

panel P054
Political Representation in Fragile and Transitional States