The Effect of Soft Government Directives About COVID-19 on Social Beliefs in Japan

17 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2020

See all articles by Susumu Cato

Susumu Cato

University of Tokyo

Takashi Iida

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science

Kenji Ishida

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science

Asei Ito

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science

Kenneth Mori McElwain

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science

Date Written: April 16, 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of non-binding government directives about COVID-19 on individual preferences. We employ an online survey in Japan, which includes a public health warning in Tokyo as a natural experiment. We show that the directive is effective in increasing individual pessimism/caution, even without legal enforcement. However, the effect is heterogeneous on crucial characteristics: those who are healthy or have not experienced product shortages are less likely to modify their beliefs. This illustrates the importance of catering policy messaging to specific subpopulations.

Keywords: COVID, Japan, survey experiment, social beliefs, public announcement

Suggested Citation

Cato, Susumu and Iida, Takashi and Ishida, Kenji and Ito, Asei and McElwain, Kenneth Mori, The Effect of Soft Government Directives About COVID-19 on Social Beliefs in Japan (April 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3577448 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3577448

Susumu Cato

University of Tokyo ( email )

7-3-1 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Tokyo 133-033
Japan

Takashi Iida

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science ( email )

Hongo 7-3-1
Tokyo, TOKYO 113-0033
Japan

Kenji Ishida

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science ( email )

Hongo 7-3-1
Tokyo, TOKYO 113-0033
Japan

Asei Ito

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science ( email )

Hongo 7-3-1
Tokyo, TOKYO 113-0033
Japan

Kenneth Mori McElwain (Contact Author)

University of Tokyo - Institute of Social Science ( email )

Hongo 7-3-1
Tokyo, TOKYO 113-0033
Japan

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