Nudge in the Time of Coronavirus: The Compliance to Behavioural Messages during Crisis
22 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020 Last revised: 30 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 27, 2020
Successful responses to the coronavirus pandemic require those without COVID-19 and asymptomatic individuals to comply with a range of government guidelines. As nudges have been widely found to be effective at increasing compliance to prosocial behaviours in many contexts, how good are they for the COVID policy toolkit? In particular, is more of a reflective response–nudge plus— needed as well as classic nudges? In an online experiment (total sample 1500 people), we show that social norms and portrayal of the victim do not work on their own, but when the victim is combined with the more reflective task of carrying out a writing task to a relative there are impacts on intentions to comply with the guidelines. After two weeks, however, these intentions do not persist. There is much work to do when designing nudges in the context of COVID-19 and other public health pandemics to ensure persistence.
Keywords: Nudge, nudge plus, coronavirus, social norms
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