On Thursday, 6 June 2024 at the Institute of Public Finance Robert Sonora, a guest lecturer from University of Montana, USA, gave a presentation entitled Household behavioral response and clubs to lockdown policy in Europe: Evidence from COVID.

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a rare opportunity to empirically study behavior vis-a-vis during a time of duress. This research uses country level cell phone data to proxy for social interaction in the 12 European countries to analyze if, and how, household behavior converges to policy dictated by policy makers. 

Results confirm that individual behavior does converge to policy recommendations, however it requires a considerable time for behavior to converge to policy. The research also demonstrates that behavioral compliance can also change across time as new information becomes available. Finally, the research finds evidence for behavioral "clubs" along regional and/or historical borders. 

While this research focuses on a specific event, the COVID pandemic, the results can easily be applied to other similar negative shocks, and will help policymakers formulate recommendations in the future.

The lecture was moderated by Branko Stanić, researcher at the Institute of Public Finance, and the presentation is also available.