Prosociality predicts health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pol Campos-Mercade, Armando N. Meier, Florian H. Schneider, Erik Wengström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Socially responsible behavior is crucial for slowing the spread of infectious diseases. However, economic and epidemiological models of disease transmission abstract from prosocial motivations as a driver of behaviors that impact the health of others. In an incentivized study, we show that a large majority of people are very reluctant to put others at risk for their personal benefit. Moreover, this experimental measure of prosociality predicts health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, measured in a separate and ostensibly unrelated study with the same people. Prosocial individuals are more likely to follow physical distancing guidelines, stay home when sick, and buy face masks. We also find that prosociality measured two years before the pandemic predicts health behaviors during the pandemic. Our findings indicate that prosociality is a stable, long-term predictor of policy-relevant behaviors, suggesting that the impact of policies on a population may depend on the degree of prosociality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104367
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Public Economics
Volume195
Number of pages23
ISSN0047-2727
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28.01.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 511 Economics
  • social preferences
  • health behavior
  • externalities
  • prosociality
  • COVID-19

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Quantitative consumer behaviour and competition economics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Prosociality predicts health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this