SAFE Working Paper No. 299

Motivated Beliefs and the Elderly’s Compliance with COVID-19 Measures

Although the elderly are more vulnerable to COVID-19, the empirical evidence suggests that they do not behave more cautiously in the pandemic than younger individuals. This theoretical model argues that some individuals might not comply with the COVID-19 measures to reassure themselves that they are not vulnerable, and that the incentives for such self-signaling can be stronger for the elderly. The results suggest that communication strategies emphasizing the dangers of COVID-19 could backfire and reduce compliance among the elderly.