Compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures: a behavioural economics approach
Last registered on July 26, 2021


Trial Information
General Information
Compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures: a behavioural economics approach
Initial registration date
March 02, 2021
Last updated
July 26, 2021 3:33 AM EDT

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Primary Investigator
University of Pretoria
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Pretoria
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This project considers the factors influencing the willingness of South African citizens to comply with the preventive measures (wearing masks, social distancing, etc.) and lockdown regulations implemented to fight the spread of Covid-19. The point of departure is that these factors are determined by personal characteristics: risk preferences, impatience and self-control, and social preferences (altruism, generosity and willingness to cooperate). The primary goal of the project is to identify the effect of these behavioural dimensions on compliance. Understanding these effects is an essential first step in designing better-targeted measures during and after the crisis, and in optimising the impact communications have on behaviour to prevent the spread of the virus.

External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Nicholls, Nicky and Eleni Yitbarek. 2021. "Compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures: a behavioural economics approach ." AEA RCT Registry. July 26.
Experimental Details
Online questionnaires will be sent to a representative sample of South Africans. Respondents will answer a range of survey questions detailing their beliefs and behaviour around the pandemic. Respondents will also participate in 4 incentivised economic games to investigate their preferences.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We are interested in reported behaviour, specifically compliance with lockdown regulations; and whether differences in preferences (altruism, risk and time preferences, cooperation) predict this behaviour. We are also interested in how beliefs about others' behaviour predict own behaviour.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Behaviour will be assessed from self-reports in survey questions, as will beliefs about others' behaviour. Altruism, risk and time preferences and willingness to cooperate/contribute to a public good are measured from decisions in economic games/experiments. A discrete choice experiment will also be used to look at the lockdown regulations with which people are more/less willing to comply.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Vaccine adoption
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We will use a discrete choice experiment to look at the impact of different characteristics of vaccines (efficacy, side effects, cost) will impact willingness to be vaccinated.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
1500 South Africans will complete a survey, including discrete choice experiments, incentivised economics games and survey questions.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Participants are randomly paid for one of the experimental tasks completed. The randomisaation will be done using computer software.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1500 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1500 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 per choice set for discrete choice experiment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
University of Pretoria Economic and Management Sciences Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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