Politicizing Mask-Wearing: Predicting the Success of Behavioral Interventions Among Republicans and Democrats in the U.S.

20 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2021 Last revised: 29 Mar 2022

See all articles by Eugen Dimant

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania; CESifo

Dylan Pieper

University of Maryland

Elena Giulia Clemente

Stockholm School of Economics; Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland

Date Written: April 28, 2022

Abstract

Scientists and policymakers seek to choose effective interventions that promote preventative health measures. We evaluated whether academics, behavioral science practitioners, and laypeople (N = 1,034) were able to forecast the effectiveness of seven different messages compared to a baseline message for Republicans and Democrats separately. These messages were designed to nudge mask-wearing attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. When examining predictions across political parties, forecasters predicted larger effects than those observed for Democrats compared to Republicans and made more accurate predictions for Republicans compared to Democrats. These results are partly driven by a lack of nudge effects on Democrats, as reported in Gelfand et al. (2021). Academics and practitioners made more accurate predictions compared to laypeople. Although forecasters' predictions were correlated with the nudge interventions, all groups overestimated the observed results. We discuss potential reasons for why the forecasts did not perform better and how more accurate forecasts of behavioral intervention outcomes could potentially provide insight that can help save resources and increase the efficacy of interventions.

Keywords: Mask-wearing, COVID-19, Forecasting

Suggested Citation

Dimant, Eugen and Pieper, Dylan and Clemente, Elena Giulia and Dreber, Anna and Gelfand, Michele Joy, Politicizing Mask-Wearing: Predicting the Success of Behavioral Interventions Among Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. (April 28, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3915256 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3915256

Eugen Dimant (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/eugendimant/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich
Germany

Dylan Pieper

University of Maryland

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Elena Giulia Clemente

Stockholm School of Economics

PO Box 6501
Stockholm, 11383
Sweden

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland ( email )

1142 Biology-Psychology Building
College Park, MD 0742-4411
United States
301 405 6972 (Phone)

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