Behaviour versus Policy through Pandemics and Crises: Behavioral Economic Insights from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Friday, Jan. 7, 2022 3:45 PM - 5:45 PM (EST)
- Chair: Michelle Baddeley, University of Technology Sydney and University College London
The Effect of Messaging and Gender on Intentions to Wear a Face Covering to Slow Down COVID-19 Transmission
AbstractThis paper explores results from a pre-registered experiment (N=2,459) testing the effect of messages highlighting that the coronavirus is a threat to “you” vs “your family” vs “your community” vs “your country” on self-reported intentions to wear a face covering. We find that focusing on “your community” promotes intentions to wear a face covering relative to the baseline. We also find that men less than women intend to wear a face covering, but this difference almost disappears in counties where wearing a face covering is mandatory. Finally, we find that men less than women believe they will be seriously affected by the coronavirus, and more than women agree that wearing a face covering is shameful, not cool, a sign of weakness, and a stigma; and these gender differences partly mediate gender differences in intentions to wear a face covering.
Which Vaccine and Who Should Get It First? Public Preferences for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program in Australia
AbstractUsing a discrete choice experiment, this study aimed to explore public preferences for different COVID-19 vaccination programs. Attributes focussed on the vaccine and roll-out program. A representative sample of Australians (N=1,079) completed the survey. Data were analysed using mixed logit regression. Respondents had strong preferences for a safe and effective vaccine. Vaccine cost and local manufacturing were also important. There was agreement with the Government proposed roll-out, that people at increased risk of dying (older people) and increased risk of infection (health workers) should have priority. The majority (74%) indicated they would vaccinate. Australia’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world and these results are consistent of a population with a low perceived risk of acquiring COVID-19.
The Ethics of Social Choices and the Role of Economists in a Pandemic
AbstractInsights from economics can help policy makers to make hard decisions about saving lives in a pandemic but two views may seem deceptively appealing in the public debate: First, the idea that decisions are not hard because there is no trade-off to make when considering lives saved; Second, the idea that economics provides a simple and correct way to make decisions using standard evaluations of the cost of lives saved. I argue that, in a democracy, hard decisions, involving trade-offs of lives saved versus other economic and social considerations, have to reflect the preferences of the citizens. The role of economists is to facilitate policy decision making by clarifying the moral principles people would be willing to follow when hard decisions have to be made, and to inform politicians about the specific trade-offs which would reflect these preferences.
- D9 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics