The Effect of Soft Government Directives About COVID-19 on Social Beliefs in Japan
17 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 16, 2020
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
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