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Optimism Bias during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Empirical Evidence from Romania and Italy

Elena Druica, Fabio Musso () and Rodica Ianole-Călin ()
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Rodica Ianole-Călin: Centre for Applied Behavioral Economics, University of Bucharest, 030018 Bucharest, Romania

Games, 2020, vol. 11, issue 3, 1-15

Abstract: Given the importance of perceived susceptibility to a disease in adopting preventive behaviors, and the negative impact of optimism bias on prevention, this paper aimed to explore to what extent comparative optimism bias (understood as the tendency to assess a lower probability for oneself to experience negative health events compared to others) is present in the specific context of the Covid-19 pandemic, in two countries with different profiles in terms of the spread of the disease: Italy and Romania. After identifying optimism bias in both countries, we tested whether it depends on respondents’ characteristics like gender, age, education, health status and whether or not they have the opportunity to work from home. We surveyed 1126 Romanians and 742 Italians, and found that optimism bias depends on self-reported health status, and that optimism bias increases with age. Inconclusive evidences were found regarding gender and education level, as well as the option to work from home.

Keywords: Covid-19; optimism bias; pandemic; perceived risk; coronavirus health crisis; risk communication (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C C7 C70 C71 C72 C73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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