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Using Insights from Behavioral Economics to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19


  • Moslem Soofi

    (Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences)

  • Farid Najafi

    (Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences)

  • Behzad Karami-Matin

    () (Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences)


The outbreak of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has become a public health emergency of international concern. The number of COVID-infected individuals and related deaths continues to rise rapidly. Encouraging people to adopt and sustain preventive behaviors is a central focus of public health policies that seek to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Public health policy needs improved methods to encourage people to adhere to COVID-19-preventive behaviors. In this paper, we introduce a number of insights from behavioral economics that help explain why people may behave irrationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, present bias, status quo bias, framing effect, optimism bias, affect heuristic, and herding behavior are discussed. We hope this paper will shed light on how insights from behavioral economics can enrich public health policies and interventions in the fight against COVID-19.

Suggested Citation

  • Moslem Soofi & Farid Najafi & Behzad Karami-Matin, 2020. "Using Insights from Behavioral Economics to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 345-350, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:aphecp:v:18:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s40258-020-00595-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s40258-020-00595-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Coleman, Stephen, 2007. "The Minnesota Income Tax Compliance Experiment: Replication of the Social Norms Experiment," MPRA Paper 5820, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Moslem Soofi & Ali Akbari Sari & Satar Rezaei & Mohammad Hajizadeh & Farid Najafi, 2019. "Individual time preferences and obesity: A behavioral economics analysis using a quasi-hyperbolic discounting approach," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 47(1), pages 16-26, November.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 1st June 2020
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2020-06-01 11:00:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Alaeddine Mihoub & Hosni Snoun & Moez Krichen & Montassar Kahia & Riadh Bel Hadj Salah, 2020. "Predicting COVID-19 Spread Level using Socio-Economic Indicators and Machine Learning Techniques," Post-Print hal-03002886, HAL.

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