NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Abhijit Chowdhury

John C. Martin Centre for Liver Research and Innov
Kolkata, West 7000150
India

E-Mail: abhijit@liverfoundation.in
Institutional Affiliation: John C. Martin Centre for Liver Research and Innovations

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Messages on COVID-19 Prevention in India Increased Symptoms Reporting and Adherence to Preventive Behaviors Among 25 Million Recipients with Similar Effects on Non-recipient Members of Their Communities
with Abhijit Banerjee, Marcella Alsan, Emily Breza, Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Esther Duflo, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, Benjamin A. Olken: w27496
During health crises, like COVID-19, individuals are inundated with messages promoting health-preserving behavior. Does additional light-touch messaging by a credible individual change behavior? Do the features of the message matter? To answer this, we conducted a large-scale messaging campaign in West Bengal, India. Twenty-five million individuals were sent an SMS containing a 2.5-minute clip, delivered by West Bengal native and 2019 Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee. All messages encouraged reporting symptoms to the local public health worker. In addition, each message emphasizes one health-preserving behavior (distancing or hygiene) and one motivation for action (effects on everyone or just on self). Further, some messages addressed concerns about ostracism of the infected. Messages were ...
 
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