Nudging in the time of coronavirus? Comparing public support for soft and hard preventive measures, highlighting the role of risk perception and experience.

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Date: Aug. 13, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 8)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 7,477 words
Lexile Measure: 1540L

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Abstract :

The importance of researching public support for preventive policies have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a representative sample of the Hungarian population, we investigated the support for commonly used preventive measures (social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing masks) comparing two different policy tools (nudges and regulations). Because of the high risk and unfamiliarity of the pandemic, the respondents' risk perception and experience with the disease was also assessed. All preventive measures were generally supported and, contrary to the findings of previous nudge research, there was no clear pattern whether regulations or nudges are preferred. People with higher level of risk perception supported both types of policies more but slightly favoured the regulations. Those who had contact with the disease (either themselves or a close friend or family member contracting COVID-19) reported a higher level of risk perception. When the person themselves was afflicted, this higher levels of risk perception did not translate to a higher level of support, moreover, it even decreased support for the regulations according to regression analysis. In case of a loved one contracting the disease, there was an increased support for both types of measures, but that is explained by the higher risk perception.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A671964955