The Intelligent Lockdown: Compliance with COVID-19 Mitigation Measures in the Netherlands
General Subserie Research Paper No. 2020-02
39 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020 Last revised: 28 Jun 2021
Date Written: May 6, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dutch government has introduced an “intelligent lockdown” with stay at home and social distancing measures. The Dutch approach to mitigate the virus focuses less on repression and more on moral appeals and self-discipline. This study assessed how compliance with the measures have worked out in practice and what factors might affect whether Dutch people comply with the measures. We analyzed data from an online survey, conducted between April 7-14, among 568 participants. The overall results showed reported compliance was high. This suggests that the Dutch approach has to some extent worked as hoped in practice. Repression did not play a significant role in compliance, while intrinsic (moral and social) motivations did produce better compliance. Yet appeals on self-discipline did not work for everyone, and people with lower impulse control were more likely to violate the rules. In addition, compliance was lower for people who lacked the practical capacity to follow the measures and for those who have the opportunity to break the measures. Sustained compliance, therefore, relies on support to aid people to maintain social distancing and restrictions to reduce opportunities for unsafe gatherings. These findings suggest several important practical recommendations for combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19, compliance, deterrence, intelligent lockdown, public health, social norms
JEL Classification: I12, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation