Maintaining Compliance when the Virus Returns: Understanding Adherence to Social Distancing Measures in the Netherlands in July 2020
General Subserie Research Paper No. 2020-14
36 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2020 Last revised: 8 Jan 2021
Date Written: August 28, 2020
After its relative lenient, “intelligent lockdown” approach to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Netherlands has continued its singular trajectory in combating the pandemic. The month of July introduced further relaxations to prior mitigation measures, but also saw a resurgence of infections. This working paper examines how these developments are reflected in Dutch citizens’ compliance with safe-distance measures during this period. Building on our previous surveys during the months of May and June, we report the findings of two additional survey waves collected in early (7-10) and late (21-23) July among nationally representative samples (N = 1064 and N = 1023, respectively). The results show that the decline in compliance that was observed from May to June seems to have halted. At the same time, important predictors of compliance – such as citizens’ capacity to comply, perceptions of the threat of the virus, and support for mitigation measures – have ceased to decrease, or are increasing. Taken together, these findings suggest that Dutch citizens’ compliance with mitigation measures may be on the rise again. However, our findings also suggest that social norms for compliance continue to be eroding, which may continue to dampen citizens’ tendency to comply.
Keywords: COVID-19, compliance, deterrence, social norms, public health, health communication
JEL Classification: I12, I18, K32, k42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation