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      In science we (should) trust: Expectations and compliance across nine countries during the COVID-19 pandemic

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          Abstract

          The magnitude and nature of the COVID-19 pandemic prevents public health policies from relying on coercive enforcement. Practicing social distancing, wearing masks and staying at home becomes voluntary and conditional on the behavior of others. We present the results of a large-scale survey experiment in nine countries with representative samples of the population. We find that both empirical expectations (what others do) and normative expectations (what others approve of) play a significant role in compliance, beyond the effect of any other individual or group characteristic. In our vignette experiment, respondents evaluate the likelihood of compliance with social distancing and staying at home of someone similar to them in a hypothetical scenario. When empirical and normative expectations of individuals are high, respondents’ evaluation of the vignette’s character’s compliance likelihood goes up by 55% (relative to the low expectations condition). Similar results are obtained when looking at self-reported compliance among those with high expectations. Our results are moderated by individuals’ trust in government and trust in science. Holding expectations high, the effect of trusting science is substantial and significant in our vignette experiment (22% increase in compliance likelihood), and even larger in self-reported compliance (76% and 127% increase before and after the lockdown). By contrast, trusting the government only generates modest effects. At the aggregate level, the country-level trust in science, and not in government, becomes a strong predictor of compliance.

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          Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response

          The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here we discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, we note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. We identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.
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            The effect of large-scale anti-contagion policies on the COVID-19 pandemic

            Governments around the world are responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic1, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with unprecedented policies designed to slow the growth rate of infections. Many policies, such as closing schools and restricting populations to their homes, impose large and visible costs on society; however, their benefits cannot be directly observed and are currently understood only through process-based simulations2-4. Here we compile data on 1,700 local, regional and national non-pharmaceutical interventions that were deployed in the ongoing pandemic across localities in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States. We then apply reduced-form econometric methods, commonly used to measure the effect of policies on economic growth5,6, to empirically evaluate the effect that these anti-contagion policies have had on the growth rate of infections. In the absence of policy actions, we estimate that early infections of COVID-19 exhibit exponential growth rates of approximately 38% per day. We find that anti-contagion policies have significantly and substantially slowed this growth. Some policies have different effects on different populations, but we obtain consistent evidence that the policy packages that were deployed to reduce the rate of transmission achieved large, beneficial and measurable health outcomes. We estimate that across these 6 countries, interventions prevented or delayed on the order of 61 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting approximately 495 million total infections. These findings may help to inform decisions regarding whether or when these policies should be deployed, intensified or lifted, and they can support policy-making in the more than 180 other countries in which COVID-19 has been reported7.
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              Polarization and Public Health: Partisan Differences in Social Distancing during the Coronavirus Pandemic ☆

              We study partisan differences in Americans’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Political leaders and media outlets on the right and left have sent divergent messages about the severity of the crisis, which could impact the extent to which Republicans and Democrats engage in social distancing and other efforts to reduce disease transmission. We develop a simple model of a pandemic response with heterogeneous agents that clarifies the causes and consequences of heterogeneous responses. We use location data from a large sample of smartphones to show that areas with more Republicans engaged in less social distancing, controlling for other factors including public policies, population density, and local COVID cases and deaths. We then present new survey evidence of significant gaps at the individual level between Republicans and Democrats in self-reported social distancing, beliefs about personal COVID risk, and beliefs about the future severity of the pandemic.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: ResourcesRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Data curationRole: InvestigationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Investigation
                Role: Investigation
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: InvestigationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Investigation
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Investigation
                Role: Investigation
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Investigation
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                4 June 2021
                2021
                4 June 2021
                : 16
                : 6
                : e0252892
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States of America
                [2 ] Management Department, Universidad ICESI, Cali, Colombia
                Middlesex University, UNITED KINGDOM
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4151-7260
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0799-5480
                https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1211-0541
                Article
                PONE-D-20-38770
                10.1371/journal.pone.0252892
                8177647
                34086823
                00e9676e-9461-4fce-9a4a-5997ec32665f
                © 2021 Bicchieri et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 9 December 2020
                : 25 May 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 4, Pages: 17
                Funding
                The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Medical Conditions
                Infectious Diseases
                Infectious Disease Control
                Social Distancing
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Medical Conditions
                Infectious Diseases
                Viral Diseases
                Covid 19
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Epidemiology
                Pandemics
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Public and Occupational Health
                Science Policy
                Science Policy
                Science and Technology Workforce
                Careers in Research
                Scientists
                People and Places
                Population Groupings
                Professions
                Scientists
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Research Design
                Survey Research
                Surveys
                Social Sciences
                Political Science
                Public Policy
                Custom metadata
                The data underlying this study are available on OSF (DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/SCAXN).
                COVID-19

                Uncategorized
                Uncategorized

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