Nudge in the Time of Coronavirus: The Compliance to Behavioural Messages during Crisis

49 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020 Last revised: 21 Mar 2021

See all articles by Susannah Hume

Susannah Hume

King's College London

Peter John

Department of Political Economy, KCL; University College London - School of Public Policy

Michael Sanders

King's College London

Emma Stockdale

King's College London

Date Written: March 20, 2021

Abstract

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 stimulating pro-social behaviours, how good are they for the COVID-policy toolkit? In particular, is a reflective device or nudge plus, as an addition to the classic nudge, able to deal with scale of the problem? To test for the impact of nudges and nudge plus, we implemented an online experiment with 1,481 people during period of the first national lockdown in the UK in April/May 2020. We show that social norms and portrayal of the victim do not work on their own in increasing intentions to comply with the guidelines, but when the victim is combined with the more reflective task of writing to a relative there is an impact. After two weeks, however, these intentions do not persist. The implication is that there still much work to do in designing nudges in the context of COVID-19 and other public health pandemics, yet reflection as a behavioural device can encourage individuals to think more responsibly in a world-wide pandemic.

Keywords: Nudge, Nudge Plus, COVID-19, Social Norms, Compliance

Suggested Citation

Hume, Susannah and John, Peter and Sanders, Michael and Stockdale, Emma, Nudge in the Time of Coronavirus: The Compliance to Behavioural Messages during Crisis (March 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3644165 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3644165

Susannah Hume (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Peter John

Department of Political Economy, KCL ( email )

Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

University College London - School of Public Policy ( email )

29/30 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9QU
United Kingdom

Michael Sanders

King's College London ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Emma Stockdale

King's College London ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,092
Abstract Views
2,952
rank
24,352
PlumX Metrics