Swedes support further measures against COVID-19
In early April, researchers at the Stockholm School of Economics sent out a survey to find out what the Swedish public thinks about possible further measures to counteract the spread of the coronavirus and its negative consequences for public health and the economy. Among other things, the results reveal that:
- Three out of four wish to see more measures to reduce the spread of the virus;
- Two out of five are positive to temporary curfews in cities; and
- Four out of five want tax relief for small businesses that have lost revenue.
The support is higher for soft approches, such as providing information through websites and apps, and tax reliefs, than for hard methods such as prohibitions, fines and commands. Women are somewhat more positive towards further action than men are. Ideological perceptions of how much power the state should have over the individual do not seem to account for how positive a person is to further measures.
"So far, support for the softer methods is the greatest, while many still want to see more measures. But this is a snapshot. Public opinion can change. The gravity of the situation will probably be decisive for how far the public will think we should go", says Gustav Almqvist, a PhD student at the Stockholm School of Economics.
Risk assessments and decision-making during the corona crisis
The study is particularly interesting in light of the relatively unique Swedish strategy to combat COVID-19.
"The ongoing crisis is, of course, first and foremost a tragedy, both human and financial. But from a research perspective, it can also teach us a lot about both individual and societal risk assessment and decision-making. This knowledge can be useful in similar situations in the future", says Patric Andersson, associate professor at the Stockholm School of Economics.
The study was conducted within the framework of an ongoing research project on nudging. Nudging refers to a collection of methods rooted in psychological research that aim to influence people's behavior in the right direction without limiting their freedom of choice.
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About the survey:
The survey was conducted in collaboration with Norstat. The data was collected between March 30 and April 6, 2020. A total of 595 interviews were conducted through an online survey. The target population was the Swedish public aged between 18 and 70 years. The response rate was 37 percent. The selection frame consisted of Norstat's randomly recruited Sweden panel.