Understanding Precautionary Behavior in the Time of COVID-19*

Seeun Jung, Sang Hyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compliance with the public health authority guidelines is crucial to prevent the spread of COVID-19 successfully. By analyzing individual responses to a survey, we identify the weakest links, i.e., those who do not follow the guidelines as much as others do, and why they are failing. We find that individuals older than 60 are most enthusiastic in protecting their and others’ health and that those younger than 30 are least enthusiastic. We categorize the factors possibly influencing the precautionary behavior into three groups: preference, belief, and constraint. It turns out that although beliefs on the effectiveness of protective measures do predict individual differences in their endeavors, they do not vary significantly across gender and age groups. On the other hand, risk, time, and social preferences explain individual differences well and significantly differ across gender and age groups. We also derive an implication for managing long-term risks due to fatigue and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-283
Number of pages33
JournalKorean Economic Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* We thank Yongsung Chang, two anonymous referees, and the participants of the seminar at Yonsei University for valuable comments. All remaining errors are ours. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) grant funded by the Korea government(MSIT) (NRF-2020R1G1A1010968) and by the Yonsei Signature Research Cluster Program of 2021 (2021.22.0011). ** First Author, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Inha University, 100 Inharo, Michuholgu, Incheon, 22212, South Korea, Phone: +82-32-860-7781. E-mail: jse@inha.ac.kr *** Corresponding Author, Associate Professor, School of Economics, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 03722, South Korea, Phone: +82-2-2123-2476. E-mail: sang.kim@yonsei.ac.kr

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Korean Economic Association. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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