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Risk Attitudes and Human Mobility During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Listed:
  • Ho Fai Chan
  • Ahmed Skali
  • David Savage
  • David Stadelmann
  • Benno Torgler

Abstract

Behavioural responses to pandemics are less shaped by actual mortality or hospitalization risks than they are by risk attitudes. We explore human mobility patterns as a measure of behavioural responses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results indicate a strong negative relationship between mobility reduction and risk-taking preferences. We find that the sharp decline in movement after the WHO (World Health Organization) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic can be attributed to risk attitudes, especially for visits to places classified as retail and recreation, transit stations and workplaces. This suggests that individuals with risk-averse attitudes are more likely to adjust their behavioural activity in response to the declaration of a pandemic even prior to most official government lockdowns. We also find regions with higher risk aversion report a larger relative reduction in frequency of visits to places such as retail shops, grocery stores, parks, and public transport during the weekends compared to weekdays, whereas risk-loving regions are more likely to go to workplaces and less likely to stay at home during the weekends. There is also evidence to suggest that in areas with a larger share of older people in the population, risk-loving individuals are more likely to restrain themselves from taking public transport, engaging in non-essential retail shopping, going to workplaces, and staying home. Finally, we also find that the rate of behavioural adjustment, measured as the effect of mobility change after the first recorded death in the country, is sharper when the population have a larger risk pool population independent of government lockdowns.

Suggested Citation

  • Ho Fai Chan & Ahmed Skali & David Savage & David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Risk Attitudes and Human Mobility During the COVID-19 Pandemic," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-06, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2020-06
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Frank & David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Electoral Turnout During States of Emergency and Effects on Incumbent Vote Share," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Anna Petherick & Rafael Goldszmidt & Eduardo B. Andrade & Rodrigo Furst & Thomas Hale & Annalena Pott & Andrew Wood, 2021. "A worldwide assessment of changes in adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviours and hypothesized pandemic fatigue," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 5(9), pages 1145-1160, September.
    3. Cyril Atkinson-Clement & Eléonore Pigalle, 2021. "What can we learn from Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on human behaviour? The case of France’s lockdown," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 8(1), pages 1-12, December.
    4. Benno Torgler, 2021. "Behavioral Taxation: Opportunities and Challenges," CREMA Working Paper Series 2021-25, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Sarbast Moslem & Tiziana Campisi & Agnieszka Szmelter-Jarosz & Szabolcs Duleba & Kh Md Nahiduzzaman & Giovanni Tesoriere, 2020. "Best–Worst Method for Modelling Mobility Choice after COVID-19: Evidence from Italy," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(17), pages 1-19, August.
    6. Ho Fai Chan & Jordan Moon & David A. Savage & Ahmed Skali & Benno Torgler & Stephen Whyte, 2020. "Can Psychological Traits Explain Mobility Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    7. Borkowski, Przemysław & Jażdżewska-Gutta, Magdalena & Szmelter-Jarosz, Agnieszka, 2021. "Lockdowned: Everyday mobility changes in response to COVID-19," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    8. Ho Fai Chan & Martin Brumpton & Alison Macintyre & Jefferson Arapoc & David A. Savage & Ahmed Skali & David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2020. "How confidence in health care systems affects mobility and compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-11, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    9. Ho Fai Chan & Martin Brumpton & Alison Macintyre & Jefferson Arapoc & David A Savage & Ahmed Skali & David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2020. "How confidence in health care systems affects mobility and compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(10), pages 1-18, October.
    10. Krekel, Christian & Swanke, Sarah & De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Fancourt, Daisy, 2020. "Are Happier People More Compliant? Global Evidence From Three Large-Scale Surveys During Covid-19 Lockdowns," IZA Discussion Papers 13690, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Adam Przybylowski & Sandra Stelmak & Michal Suchanek, 2021. "Mobility Behaviour in View of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic—Public Transport Users in Gdansk Case Study," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(1), pages 1-12, January.
    12. Steve J. Bickley & Alison Macintyre & Benno Torgler, 2021. "Safety in Smart, Livable Cities: Acknowledging the Human Factor," CREMA Working Paper Series 2021-17, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

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