We invite 2,400 participants on Amazon Mechanical Turk (Mturk) to take part in an incentivized survey programmed in Qualtrics (see documents attached), implemented in three stages: on 4/30/20 we recruit the first 600 participants and two weeks later, on 5/14/20, we recruit the next 600 new participants. This approach allows us to explore any temporal dynamics between those days, where the number of cases is likely to increase as the lockdown policies relax at the state level. This approach also allows us to test the robustness of our findings while replicating the results from the first stage. The last 1,200 participants are recruited a year later, 600 on 6/10/21 and 600 on 6/24/21, when the lockdown policies have been further relaxed and vaccines have been applied to roughly half of the U.S. population. This last stage will further allow us to test the robustness of our findings and learn whether the behavioral regularities pertaining to social distancing extend to willingness to get vaccinated.
The survey consists of three main sections, with the content of the first two waves and the last two varying slightly. Specifically, in the first section of the first two waves we use three incentivized economic games to measure: i) cooperation using a one-shot public goods game; ii) conditional cooperation using a sequential prisoner’s dilemma game; iii) and altruism using an ad hoc donation task; whereas in the third and fourth waves we do not make use of the public goods game. In the second section we present participants of the first two waves with hypothetical scenarios that also measure standard economic preferences, based on the Global Preference Survey (GPS) by Falk et al. 2018, and the Triple Dominance Measure of Social Value Orientation (SVO) by Van Lange et al. 1997; whereas in the last two waves we only make use of the SVO component. In the third section we survey the participants’ opinions about the current epidemic, the behavior of other people, and the severity of the current crisis, and build an index of compliance with social distancing rules as a proxy for cooperation for the first two waves, and an index of compliance with vaccination as a proxy for cooperation for the third and fourth waves. The last two waves also include an exploratory 2-question experiment in a 2x2 design, where participants first assess the likelihood that a person is to get vaccinated if they live in a [county, close-knit community] where vaccines are available and [80%, 20%] of the people have been vaccinated. Participants then determine what they would do if they were such a person: either get vaccinated, not get vaccinated, or wait until more people are vaccinated.
We conclude the study with an exploratory section where we assess the participants’ prosocial motives based in their demographics.