Sonja Settele, University of Copenhagen

"Cost-Benefit Considerations and the Support for Public Health Measures: Evidence from the Covid-19"


We study the extent to which individuals take into account the perceived economic costs and health benefits of a ``lockdown'' of economic activity when forming their preferences about the optimal degree and duration of such interventions in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. In a large-scale online survey experiment, with a representative sample of the US population of more than 8,000 respondents, we induce exogenous variation in the perceived economic costs of shutting down the economy based on a randomized information treatment. In addition, we vary the assumed health benefits of shutdowns in an orthogonal treatment condition, by presenting the survey respondents with randomized (hypothetical but realistic) future scenarios under which longer durations of lockdowns are associated with fewer projected Covid-19 fatalities. Our evidence suggests that individuals indeed trade off perceived costs and benefits between the economic and the health domain, suggesting a potentially powerful role for information campaigns in generating support for non-pharmaceutical interventions to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Via Zoom - Contact Casper Worm Hansen for a Zoom link to this seminar