Trust Me, Mask Up: Experimental Evidence on Social Trust and Responsiveness to COVID-19 Mitigation Policies

74 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2021 Last revised: 17 Dec 2021

Date Written: April 28, 2021

Abstract

Observational evidence suggests that social trust, i.e., trust in others, and the closely related concept of social capital play a critical role in compliance with government policy, particularly in regards to public responsiveness to measures intended to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. We use a survey experiment to causally estimate the impact of altering social trust on compliance with a range of policies intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing an instrumental variable approach, we are able to alter reported social trust, but find null effects in regards to compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures. We speculate on several explanations for this finding.

Keywords: Coronavirus, Social Trust, Social Capital, Partisanship, COVID-19, Experiment, Causal Inference, Instrumental Variable, Survey Experiment, Public Policy, Compliance, Norms, Networks

JEL Classification: P1, P4, Z18, D7

Suggested Citation

Goldstein, Daniel A. N. and Wiedemann, Johannes, Trust Me, Mask Up: Experimental Evidence on Social Trust and Responsiveness to COVID-19 Mitigation Policies (April 28, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3835934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3835934

Daniel A. N. Goldstein (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

CT
United States

Johannes Wiedemann

Yale University ( email )

CT
United States

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
58
Abstract Views
658
rank
513,055
PlumX Metrics