(Non)adhering to measures to control COVID 19: Insights from Behavioral Economics
Keywords:Covid Control, Cognitive biases, Behavioral economics
The Corona virus epidemic has seen its one year of emergence and in many ways it has changed the way the world was. While virtually all the countries have been affected by the disease, the proposed measures to prevent the disease is simple but has to be sustained, like wearing masks, washing hands, avoiding crowded places. In spite of that most of the people have not been able to diligently follow these advices in almost all the countries. The author wants to explore some of the factors here that may have deterred people from sticking to these measures using the newly emerging field of behavioral economics. The author starts from a philosophical point of view and goes into the debate between utilitarianism and libertinism and comes to the criticism of both the theories. In fact a middle way of paternalistic libertinism has been proposed as a better way of explaining many of the behaviors that are apparently not rational according to neoclassical frameworks. Kahnemann’s prospect theory, with its cognitive biases like heuristics, anchoring, salience and above all social norms are found to be explaining many of the behaviors in a better way. The author, however has to give evidences from popular media and anecdotes in many cases, due to paucity of better quality evidence.
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