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Risk perception and policy responses to Covid-19: New Evidence

Mafalda Venâncio de Vasconcelos and Filipa Leão de Vasconcelos

CHILD Working Papers Series from Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA

Abstract: Governments around the world have been taking unprecedent responses in order to slow down the spread of Covid-19, a highly infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Although containment measures imposed by governments may help to contain the spread of the virus they had led to large economic and social costs. In this study we link psychological vulnerabilities to economics in an attempt to analyze the impact of government containment measures on citizens' risk perception of death directly caused by Covid-19. In the context of pandemic, it is crucial to understand if restrictions imposed by governments impact people's risk perception. If people perceive higher risk, they will be more prone to follow health authorities' recommendations and there are higher chances that the pandemic will be brought under control. Our study presents evidence that during the first wave of Covid-19, stringent containment measures imposed by governments increase citizens' risk perception. We also find that economic activity is also an important driver of risk perception, namely, higher economic activity decreases people's risk perception of death directly caused by Covid-19.

Keywords: Containment measures; Covid-19; Economic activity; Google search; Media; Stringency index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 21 pages
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-rmg
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