Politicizing Mask-Wearing: Predicting the Success of Behavioral Interventions Among Republicans and Democrats
15 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2021 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 1, 2021
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 prediction error 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 overpredicted the observed results. We discuss how accurate forecasts of behavioral intervention outcomes provide insight that can help save resources and increase the efficacy of interventions by updating the accuracy of forecasters’ beliefs.
Keywords: Mask-wearing, COVID-19, Forecasting
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