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

22 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020 Last revised: 30 Nov 2020

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: November 27, 2020

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 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

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 (November 27, 2020). 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

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