The Usual Suspects: Does Risk Tolerance, Altruism, and Health Predict the Response to Covid-19?

25 Pages Posted: 14 May 2020

See all articles by Ketki Sheth

Ketki Sheth

University of California, Merced - Department of Economics; University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics

Greg Wright

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Using a registered pre-analysis plan, we survey college students during California’s Stay-at-Home order to test whether compliance with social distancing requirements depends on key parameters that affect their marginal benefit from doing so. We find a quarter of students violated the order. Yet, neither risk preference, altruism, nor preexisting health conditions were predictive of compliance. Our findings raise doubt about the efficiency of minimally enforced social distancing policies, as well as commonly assumed motivations for compliance. Our results also imply that that those with pre-existing health conditions may not voluntarily comply, resulting in higher health care congestion than otherwise expected.

Keywords: COVID-19, risk, altruism, health

JEL Classification: I100, D800

Suggested Citation

Sheth, Ketki and Wright, Greg, The Usual Suspects: Does Risk Tolerance, Altruism, and Health Predict the Response to Covid-19? (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8276, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3598762

Ketki Sheth (Contact Author)

University of California, Merced - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
United States

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

Greg Wright

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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