The Role of Statistical Literacy in Risk Assessment and Behavior - Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic
47 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2020 Last revised: 22 Apr 2022
Date Written: April 21, 2022
We study the role of statistical literacy in people's assessment of risk by analyzing risk expectations and behavior in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a large-scale panel survey of about 4,000 Dutch households, we find that more statistically literate people adjust their risk estimates more strongly to the actual infection risk, measured by the current number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in their home province. Consistently, they are more likely to socially distance, especially when local cases are high. We also show that statistically more literate people evaluate the risks and benefits of a vaccination against COVID-19 differently and are more likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Keywords: statistical literacy, COVID-19, risk estimates, social distancing, vaccination
JEL Classification: D84, I12, I18, I20
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