The intelligent lockdown: Compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures in the Netherlands

Malouke Kuiper, Anne Leonore de Bruijn, Chris Reinders Folmer, Elke Hindina Olthuis, Megan Brownlee, Emmeke Barbara Kooistra, Adam Fine, Benjamin van Rooij

Research output: Working paperAcademic


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dutch government has introduced an “intelligent lockdown” with stay at home and social distancing measures. The Dutch approach to mitigate the virus focuses less on repression and more on moral appeals and self-discipline. This study assessed how compliance with the measures have worked out in practice and what factors might affect whether Dutch people comply with the measures. We analyzed data from an online survey, conducted between April 7-14, among 568 participants. The overall results showed reported compliance was high. This suggests that the Dutch approach has to some extent worked as hoped in practice. Repression did not play a significant role in compliance, while intrinsic (moral and social) motivations did produce better compliance. Yet appeals on self-discipline did not work for everyone, and people with lower impulse control were more likely to violate the rules. In addition, compliance was lower for people who lacked the practical capacity to follow the measures and for those who have the opportunity to break the measures. Sustained compliance, therefore, relies on support to aid people to maintain social distancing and restrictions to reduce opportunities for unsafe gatherings. These findings suggest several important practical recommendations for combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

JEL Classification: I12, K42


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