Framing the Predicted Impacts of Covid-19 Prophylactic Measures in Terms of Lives Saved Rather than Deaths is More Effective for Older People

15 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2020

See all articles by Pietro Biroli

Pietro Biroli

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Steven Bosworth

University of Reading

Marina Della Giusta

University of Reading - Department of Economics; IZA

Amalia Di Girolamo

University of Birmingham

Sylvia Jaworska

University of Reading

Jeremy Vollen

University of Zurich

Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature on public health communication by studying how the framing of a message relaying the forecast impact of COVID-19 prevention measures affects compliance behaviour amongst both the young and old. A representative sample of survey respondents in the UK and US, along with selected respondents in Italy, were presented with forecasts for the number of deaths from COVID-19 in their countries with and without public adherence to various preventive behaviours. We experimentally varied whether this information was presented in terms of likely deaths or lives saved. The lives saved frame increases reported protective behaviours, but only amongst older respondents. We present evidence consistent with the hypothesis that framing is likelier to affect decisions whose consequences are felt by oneself (i.e. protective behaviours by the elderly) rather than solely others (i.e. protective behaviours amongst the young).

Keywords: framing, protective behaviours, cooperation, age, gender, COVID-19

JEL Classification: D03, D83, D84, D85, J16, J24

Suggested Citation

Biroli, Pietro and Bosworth, Steven and Della Giusta, Marina and Di Girolamo, Amalia and Jaworska, Sylvia and Vollen, Jeremy, Framing the Predicted Impacts of Covid-19 Prophylactic Measures in Terms of Lives Saved Rather than Deaths is More Effective for Older People. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13753, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3704136 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3704136

Pietro Biroli (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

Steven Bosworth

University of Reading ( email )

Marina Della Giusta

University of Reading - Department of Economics ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, RG6 6AH
United Kingdom
+44 (0)118 378 5068 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: hhttp://www.reading.ac.uk/hedgehogs/about/staff/m-DellaGiusta.aspx

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Amalia Di Girolamo

University of Birmingham

Sylvia Jaworska

University of Reading ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

Jeremy Vollen

University of Zurich

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

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