Stigma and Misconceptions in the Time of the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Field Experiment in India

41 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2021

See all articles by Asad Islam

Asad Islam

Monash University - Department of Economics

Debayan Pakrashi

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur

Michael Vlassopoulos

University of Southampton; IZA -- Institute for the Study of Labor

Liang C. Wang

Monash University

Abstract

A hidden cost of the COVID-19 pandemic is the stigma associated with the disease for those infected and groups that are considered as more likely to be infected. This paper examines whether the provision of accurate and focused information about COVID-19 from a reliable source can reduce stigmatization. We carry out a randomized field experiment in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, in which we provide an information brief about COVID-19 by phone to a random subsample of participants to address stigma and misconceptions. We find that the information brief decreases stigmatization of COVID-19 patients and certain groups such as religious minorities, lower-caste groups, and frontline workers (healthcare, police), and reduces the belief that infection cases are more prevalent among certain marginalized social and economic groups (Muslims, low caste, rural-poor population). We provide suggestive evidence that improved knowledge about the prevention and transmission of COVID-19 and reduced stress about the disease are important channels for these effects.

JEL Classification: D83, I18, J16, J18

Suggested Citation

Islam, Asadul and Pakrashi, Debayan and Vlassopoulos, Michael and Wang, Liang C., Stigma and Misconceptions in the Time of the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Field Experiment in India. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13995, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3758696

Asadul Islam (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Monash University
Caulfield East, Victoria
Australia
+61399032783 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://users.monash.edu/~asaduli/

Debayan Pakrashi

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur ( email )

Kharagpur
Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh 208016
India

Michael Vlassopoulos

University of Southampton ( email )

University Rd.
Southampton SO17 1BJ, Hampshire SO17 1LP
United Kingdom

IZA -- Institute for the Study of Labor ( email )

Bonn

Liang C. Wang

Monash University ( email )

Australia

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
32
Abstract Views
134
PlumX Metrics