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COVID-19, stigma, and habituation: Theory and evidence from mobility data

Kurita, Kenichi and Katafuchi, Yuya (2021): COVID-19, stigma, and habituation: Theory and evidence from mobility data.

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Abstract

This paper introduces a habituation effect into the stigma model of self-restraint behavior under the pandemic. The theoretical result indicates that the state of emergency's self-restraint effects weaken with the number of times. In order to confirm whether the results of the theoretical analysis are consistent with the current situation, the empirical analysis examines the impact of emergency declarations on going-out behavior using a prefecture-level daily panel dataset that includes Google's going-out behavior data, the Japanese government's policy interventions based on emergency declarations, and covariates that affect going-out behavior such as precipitation and holidays. The results of the empirical analysis can be summarized in two points: First, for multiple emergency declarations from the beginning of the pandemic to 2021, the effect of refraining from going-out was confirmed under emergency declarations in a model that did not distinguish the number of emergency declarations. Second, in the model that considers the number of emergency declarations, the effect of voluntary restraint on going-out was found to decrease with the number of declarations. These empirical analyses are consistent with the results of theoretical analyses, which show that people become more habituated to a policy intervention as the number of the intervention increases.

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