Adherence to COVID-19 Policy Measures: Behavioral Insights from the Netherlands and Belgium
41 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 14, 2020
Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, countries have been mirroring each other’s policies to mitigate the spread of the virus. In the widespread debate about which policy measures are most effective, the question arises if these policies alone will establish the desired behaviors of social distancing, washing hands, and wearing a face mask. We show that recommendations do not guarantee adherence, but more stringent measures do not either. Our analysis, comparing data from The Netherlands and the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, shows that motivations, beliefs about the virus and the effectiveness of measures, and pre-pandemic behavior play an important role. This suggests that policymakers should reconsider one-size-fits-all solutions and include behavioral motivations specific to their country in their COVID-19 strategies.
Keywords: COVID-19; policy response; cross-country context; behavioral change; self-protecting behaviors; beliefs
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