The Role of Statistical Literacy in Risk Perceptions and Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic
63 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2020 Last revised: 17 Nov 2020
Date Written: October 20, 2020
We study the role of statistical literacy in interpreting COVID-19-related information, assessments of infection risk, and compliance with mobility restrictions. 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. They are also generally more likely to socially distance, less concerned about their own infection risk, and more concerned about infecting others, especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly. We also find that more statistically literate people generally consider a flu shot more important, potentially suggesting a more positive attitude toward vaccines.
Keywords: statistical literacy, COVID-19, risk estimates, social distancing, vaccines, health attitudes, communication
JEL Classification: D84, I12, I18, I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation