When Norms Collide: The Effect of Religious Holidays on Compliance with COVID Guidelines

35 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2020

See all articles by Fareena Malhi

Fareena Malhi

University of the Punjab (PU) - Department of Economics

Zehra Aftab

American University

Sheheryar Banuri

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Economic and Social Studies; University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS)

Date Written: October 29, 2020

Abstract

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper investigates the effect of a shift in social/religious norms on compliance behaviour. Religion-based norms of behaviour have the potential to counteract newly established norms of health-preserving behaviours. One such event occurred during the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations, which were particularly problematic for Muslim-majority populations. We study the impact of such an event on compliance behaviour in one country – Pakistan – and find that, in a large sample of University students, compliance declines immediately after the religious holiday. Our effects are identified by unprompted delays in fielding a survey measuring compliance with prescribed behaviours. We report a decline in compliance, with no observable decline in other well documented predictors of compliance behaviours (that is, risk perceptions, or trust in the authorities). We find that this decline in compliance is largely attributable to male participants, with one important exception. We further confirm our results by conducting robustness checks incorporating matching techniques.

Keywords: Coronavirus, Eid Effect, Compliance, Social norms, Gender Differentiation, Pakistan

JEL Classification: B55, C22, C99, D84, D91, Z1

Suggested Citation

Malhi, Fareena and Aftab, Zehra and Banuri, Sheheryar, When Norms Collide: The Effect of Religious Holidays on Compliance with COVID Guidelines (October 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3721080 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3721080

Fareena Malhi (Contact Author)

University of the Punjab (PU) - Department of Economics ( email )

Lahore
Pakistan

Zehra Aftab

American University

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Sheheryar Banuri

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Economic and Social Studies ( email )

Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
+441603591246 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uea.ac.uk/economics/people/profile/s-banuri

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) ( email )

United Kingdom
+441603591246 (Phone)

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