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The Cambridge-INET Institute - continuing as the Janeway Institute


Large Scale Experiments Webinar Series - Edoardo Gallo

Cambridge-INET, Prof. Sanjeev Goyal and Dr. Frederic Moisan are hosting a series of webinars on "Large Scale Experiments". The seventh webinar of this series will be given by Edoardo Gallo (University of Cambridge) on "Fines and Progressive Ideology Trump Informational Campaigns in Promoting Social Distancing".

Social distancing is an essential public policy measure to reduce the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments around the world have put in place distancing measures adopting very different approaches to ensure compliance ranging from fines to informational campaigns (nudges). This ubiquitous deployment of distancing policy is unprecedented, and governments lack evidence on what policy is most effective to ensure compliance. We examine the effectiveness of fines and nudges in promoting distancing in a web-based interactive experiment conducted on a representative sample of the US population at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fines have a sizeable, significant and lasting effect in promoting distancing, while nudges have a negligible and short-lived impact. Individuals who are superspreaders because of their number of interactions are more likely to practice distancing. Despite the effectiveness of fine-based interventions, political ideology is the primary factor in determining distancing. Conservative-leaning participants are much less likely to practice distancing, and they are less responsive to the fine-based intervention. We conclude by highlighting the crucial role that web-based interactive experiments can play in informing governments on the causal impact of different types of policies during a pandemic when it is not feasible to conduct lab and/or field-based experimental research.

Event Date: Thursday 30th July 2020

Time: 02:00pm - 03:00pm

Event Contact: Marion Reusch -

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Large Scale Experiments

Theme: networks