Which Beliefs? Behavior-Predictive Beliefs are Inconsistent with Information-Based Beliefs: Evidence from Covid-19

36 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2021 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021

See all articles by Ori Heffetz

Ori Heffetz

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Guy Ishai

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 26, 2021

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between (a) official information on COVID-19 infection and death case counts; (b) beliefs about such case counts, at present and in the future; (c) beliefs about average infection chance—in principle, directly calculable from (b); and (d) self-reported health-protective behavior. We elicit (b), (c), and (d) with a daily online survey in the US from March to August 2020 (N ≈ 13,900). Beliefs about future infection cases are closely related to official information, but are inconsistent with beliefs about infection chances—risk perceptions—which are better predictors of reported behavior. We discuss potential implications for public communication of health-risk information.

Note: Funding Statement: The research was funded by the Johnson School at Cornell and by the Cornell Center for Social Sciences (CCSS).

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare that there are no relevant financial or non-financial competing interests to report.

Ethics Approval Statement: Our research was exempted from IRB review by Cornell's IRB, protocol # 2001009361. The research is purely based on an anonymous internet MTurk survey. At the beginning of the survey, our respondents provide their informed consent to participate in the study.

Keywords: Information, Expectations, Beliefs, Risk Perceptions, Survey Elicitation, COVID-19

JEL Classification: D83, D84, D91, I12

Suggested Citation

Heffetz, Ori and Ishai, Guy, Which Beliefs? Behavior-Predictive Beliefs are Inconsistent with Information-Based Beliefs: Evidence from Covid-19 (October 26, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3859318 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3859318

Ori Heffetz (Contact Author)

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

324 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~heffetz

Guy Ishai

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality ( email )

Jerusalem
Israel

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
66
Abstract Views
304
rank
372,151
PlumX Metrics