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Are risk perceptions and policy preferences responsive to information? Evidence from the covid-19 crisis in South Africa and Brazil
Initial registration date
May 29, 2020
July 02, 2020 3:04 PM EDT
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Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
The growing COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented health, as well as economic crisis. Many governments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have advocated the public health strategies adopted elsewhere, and introduced various levels of “lockdown” to reduce the number of new infections. While these measures can reduce transmissions and “flatten the curve” of new cases to protect fragile health systems, they can come at a great economic cost. Voices have emerged against these strategies in many settings, claiming that the economic price to pay is too high, and that these measures hurt more than they help. Using a survey experiment where respondents are randomized to receiving different messages, we test the impact of different messages on people’s perceptions of the health and economic risks they face, how they perceive the health vs. economic trade-offs involved by some social distancing measures, and their support for alternative policies.
Lagarde, Mylene and Nicholas Stacey. 2020. "Are risk perceptions and policy preferences responsive to information? Evidence from the covid-19 crisis in South Africa and Brazil." AEA RCT Registry. July 02.
This intervention seeks to assess how the framing of messaging related to COVID-19 policy responses influences individuals' perceptions of the health risks of the pandemic and the economic impact of non-pharmaceutical lockdown policies. Through a survey experiment, individuals are randomly assigned to receiving alternative messages.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Three families of outcomes: (1) perceived health risks ; (2) perceived economic risks and (3) policy preferences
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Each family of outcomes will be constructed based on several questions asked
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Individuals will be randomised to one of three groups:
- 'public health' group: respondents see a short video emphasizing the standard 'public health' message explaining the benefits of social distancing measures to limit the spread of the virus. - 'trade-off' group: respondents see a short video emphasizing the standard 'public health' message explaining the benefits of social distancing measures, but recognizing its potential economic costs. - control group: no information
Experimental Design Details
Respondents will be randomly assigned to treatments via random-number generation during the survey.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
2500 individuals in each country.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
equal allocation to each group (about 830 in each group)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
London School of Economics
IRB Approval Date