Discussion paper

DP15119 How Laws Affect the Perception of Norms: Empirical Evidence from the Lockdown

Laws not only affect behavior due to changes in material payoffs, but they may also change the
perception individuals have of societal norms, either by shifting them directly or by providing
information on these norms. Using detailed daily survey data and exploiting the introduction
of lockdown measures in the UK in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, we provide
causal evidence that the law drastically changed the perception of the norms regarding social
distancing behaviors. We show this effect of laws on perceived norms is mostly driven by an
informational channel.

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Citation

Galbiati, R, E Henry, N Jacquemet and M Lobeck (eds) (2020), “DP15119 How Laws Affect the Perception of Norms: Empirical Evidence from the Lockdown”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 15119. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15119