From the Nested Knowledge Team

 

Our team at Nested Knowledge is exploring some interesting questions on the relationship between social behavior and spread of the novel coronavirus. One concept we explored was trying to find an indicator of compliance with law; in this case, we used tax compliance as a proxy for law-abiding behavior. The basic hypothesis: if a country is more tax-compliant, we could assume that they are law-abiding and therefore will follow social distancing and other guidelines conscientiously.

Our analysts used this shared datasheet of statistics on COVID-19 cases and mortality, which summarizes the raw data made available based on a range of sources here, including cases and deaths by country and population. The data on tax evasion comes from a publication from the Journal of International Development here and the data of tax revenue for each country comes from the International Monetary Fund World Revenue Longitudinal Data  (IMF-WoRLD).

Some disclaimers: Pandemic infection rates are complex issues with a lot of variable factors. Every country has different population densities, timelines for the pandemic, varying diagnostic capabilities, differing standards for tracking patients and quality of healthcare in addition to how much social distancing is recognized and followed. Due to those considerations, our statisticians do not perform inferential statistics due to the potential impact of confounding variables, However, one thing that we do know is human contact spreads the virus faster, and so a culture of disregarding laws or rules surrounding social distancing *could* potentially lead to an increased occurrence of COVID-19 infection.  Analyzing this data, our experts from Nested Knowledge performed correlation analysis, simple linear regression, and Mann-Whitney U Tests.

Some key results from the analysis:

Figure 1. Spearman correlation between the percentage tax loss and the percentage confirmed/death rate for 3 scenarios (Original, Excluding countries with less than 1M population, Excluding countries with the percentage confirmed rate more than 20%).

Figure 2. 10 countries excluded from exclusion criteria ①.

Figure 3. Left: Pearson correlation between the percentage tax loss and the percentage confirmed/death rate for 3 scenarios (Original, Excluding countries with less than 1M population, Excluding countries with the percentage confirmed rate more than 20%). Right: Linear regression for the last scenario.

 

These observations do not represent our opinion on tax compliance in different countries in any way, and that expert recommendations (not ours) on social activity and social distancing should be the central guide in behavior during this crisis.

As the scientific community rallies around to fight the pandemic, we encourage data analytics experts and interested scientists can use our data sheet to build their data models; you can “mirror” it in your own Google Sheet using the ImportRange function.  We hope that this can be a start for researchers to pool data and construct their own analysis on factors related to population, socioeconomics, culture, and other datasets.