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Response to governmental COVID-19 restrictions: the role of informal institutions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2021

Katarzyna Bentkowska
Warsaw School of Economics, Institute of Markets and Competition, Warsaw, Poland
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This paper explains how informal institutions influence the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to formal restrictions. I claim that it is not enough to introduce countermeasures, as individuals must follow them if they are to be effective. The acceptance of such measures is reflected in individuals' degrees of mobility decrease and contact reduction, the aims of governmental restrictions. I identify a group of attitudes connected with individuals' responses that differ across countries. They are associated with social relations and approaches to dealing with problems. The analysis confirms that formal restrictions can be seen as successful only if they are supported by strong informal institutions. In some cases, they even define individuals' reactions more than formal recommendations. The findings are useful not only for explaining the special case of reaction to pandemic restrictions but also for investigating what generally determines individuals' compliance with formal rules.

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Copyright © Millennium Economics Ltd 2021

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