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Fines and progressive ideology promote social distancing


  • Edoardo Gallo
  • Darija Halatova
  • Alastair Langtry


Governments have used social distancing to stem the spread of COVID-19, but lack evidence on the most effective policy to ensure compliance. We examine the effectiveness of fines and informational messages (nudges) in promoting social distancing in a web-based interactive experiment conducted during the pandemic on a near-representative sample of the US population. Fines promote distancing, but nudges only have a marginal impact. Individuals do more social distancing when they are aware they are a superspreader. Political ideology also has a causal impact -- progressives are more likely to practice distancing, and they are marginally more responsive to fines.

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  • Edoardo Gallo & Darija Halatova & Alastair Langtry, 2020. "Fines and progressive ideology promote social distancing," Papers 2012.12118,, revised Sep 2021.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2012.12118

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