Usage of Behavioural Innovation in the Context of the COVID-19 Crisis

Monika Czerwonka, Joanna Siembida


Theoretical background: The theoretical basis for this paper are issues of behavioural economics that question a standard assumption of homo oeconomicus and provide knowledge on the way people make decisions. It refers mainly to extraordinary situations such as, e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic. The article draws also on Thaler’s nudge theory, which claims that some aspects of behavioural theory might be successfully used to shape public policies using appropriate tools (simplicities, default options, framing, approximation of consequences, design, or reference to social norms).

Purpose of the article: The article aims to overview the use of tools of behavioural economics to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to popularize these solutions. There were presented examples of how behavioural innovations are used in various contexts by state authorities from different parts of the world. The overview may provide inspiration for implementing new solutions based on nudge theory that ultimately would contribute both to more effective and higher-rated actions undertaken by governments as well as to faster combat against the pandemic.

Research methods: The article refers to theories from behavioural economics (prospect theory, nudge theory) and media reports on methods of fighting and mitigating negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in various countries, also those with different cultural backgrounds. The article provides an overview of such methods and presents mechanisms of behavioural economics that underlie them, along with positive results of these very methods, thereby proving their effectiveness.

Main findings: The mechanisms presented, and the examples of their consecutive appliance prove the effectiveness of behavioural economics as a tool in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite potential cultural differences, the effectiveness of behavioural tools across countries with different cultural backgrounds was presented. It was suggested that applying choice architecture on a larger scale in public policies may bring about positive effects, especially in crisis situations such as, e.g. a pandemic on a global scale.


COVID-19; behavioural economics; crisis; pandemic

Full Text:



Abrams, D., Wetherell, M., Cochrane, S., Hogg, M.A., & Turner, J.C. (1990). Knowing what to think by knowing who you are: Self-categorization and the nature of norm formation, conformity, and group polarization. British Journal of Social Psychology, 29(2), 97–119. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.1990.tb00892.x

Aravindan, A., & Geddie, J. (2020). Singapore charges visitors for coronavirus treatment after imported Indonesian cases. Retrieved from

Bavel, J.J.V., Baicker, K., Boggio, P.S., Capraro, V., Cichocka, A., Cikara, M., & Willer, R. (2020). Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(5), 460–471.

Bellon, M. (2021). Milion dolarów za zaszczepienie się przeciw COVID-19. Takie rzeczy w USA. Retrieved from

Betsch, C., Böhm, R., Korn, L., & Holtmann C. (2017). On the benefits of explaining herd immunity in vaccine advocacy. Nature Human Behavior, 1(3), Article no. 56. doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0056

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). (2021). COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings. Retrieved from

Christakis, N.A., & Fowler, J.H. (2013). Social contagion theory: Examining dynamic social networks and human behavior. Statistics in Medicine, 32(4), 556–577. doi:10.1002/sim.5408

Czerkawski, R. (2021). Kompendium wiedzy o tarczy finansowej 2.0. Co trzeba zrobić, by zdobyć finansowanie? Retrieved from

Czerwonka, M. (2019a). Cultural, cognitive and personality traits in risk-taking behaviour: Evidence from Poland and the United States of America. Economic Research – Ekonomska Istraživanja, 32(1), 894–908. doi:10.1080/1331677X.2019.1588766

Czerwonka, M. (2019b). Behawioralne, kulturowe i etyczne uwarunkowania podejmowania decyzji inwestycyjnych. Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza SGH.

Daniszewski, P. (2013). Dżuma (Yersinia pestis) – jako broń biologiczna. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, 9, 84–94. (2021). Zapisz się na test na koronawirusa (SARS-CoV-2). Retrieved from

Higgins, T. (2020). Joe Biden receives Covid vaccine on live television, encourages Americans to get inoculated. Retrieved from

Huczko, P. (2021). Zmiana terminu szczepienia przeciw COVID-19. Retrieved from,Zmiana-terminu-szczepienia-przeciw-COVID19.html

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decisions under risk. Econometrica, 47(2), 263–292.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1981). The framing of decisions and psychology of choice. Science, 211(4481), 453–458. doi:10.1126/science.7455683

Kancelaria Premiera. (2021). [Twitter, May 16]. Retrieved from

Kirk, C.P., & Rifkin, L.S. (2020). I’ll trade you diamonds for toilet paper: Consumer reacting, coping and adapting behaviors in the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Business Research, 117, 124–131. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.05.028

Kitayama, S., Park, J., Miyamoto Y., Date, H., Morozink Boylan, J., Markus, H.R., Karasawa, M., Kawakami, N., Coe, Ch.L., Love, G.D., & Ryff, C.D. (2018). Behavioral adjustment moderates the link between neuroticism and biological health risk: A U.S. – Japan comparison study. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(6), 809–822. doi:10.1177/0146167217748603

Kraus, B., & Kitayama, S. (2019). Interdependent self-construal predicts emotion suppression in Asian Americans: An electro-cortical investigation. Biological Psychology, 146, 107733. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.107733

Morawiecki, M. (2021). [Twitter, April 24]. Retrieved from

NHS Digital. (2021). Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk assessment. Retrieved from

Peters, E., Västfjäll, D., Slovic, P., Mertz, C.K., Mazzocco, K., & Dickert, S. (2006). Numeracy and decision making. Psychological Science, 17(5), 407–413. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01720.x

Rynek Zdrowia. (2021). 25 euro dla obywatela za zaszczepienie się – pierwsza taka decyzja na świecie. Retrieved from,221435,1018.html

Salas, J., & Almodovar, L. (2020). A room, a bar and a classroom: How the coronavirus is spread through the air. Retrieved from

Scicluna, Ch. (2021). COVID-battered Malta to pay tourists who visit this summer. Retrieved from

Sim, K., Chua, H.Ch., Vieta, E., & Fernandez, G. (2020). The anatomy of panic buying related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatry Research, 288. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113015

Thaler, R., & Sustein, C.R. (2017). Impuls. Jak podejmować właściwe decyzje dotyczące zdrowia, dobrobytu i szczęścia. Poznań: Zysk i S-ka.

Worldometer. (2022). COVID Live Update: 179,260,962 Cases and 3,882,169 Deaths from the Coronavirus. Retrieved from

Zahorski, T., & Zendran, I. (2018). Złoty wiek grypy. Krótka historia pandemii. Acta Uroboroi – w kręgu epidemii, 91–101.

Date of publication: 2022-12-09 11:19:02
Date of submission: 2021-10-19 11:19:49


Total abstract view - 970
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 0



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Monika Czerwonka, Joanna Siembida

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.