What drives compliance with COVID-19 measures over time? Explaining changing impacts with Goal Framing Theory

Frédérique Six*, Steven de Vadder, Monika Glavina, Koen Verhoest, Koen Pepermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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The COVID-19 pandemic provides a unique opportunity to study which factors drive compliance and how the evolving context in society –virus fluctuations and changing government measures – changes the impact of these factors. Extant literature lists many factors that drive compliance – notably enforcement, trust, legitimacy. Most of these studies, however, do not look across time: whether a changing context for citizens changes the impact of factors driving compliance. In this study, we use Lindenberg's Goal Framing Theory to explain the dynamics of these drivers of compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. We formulate hypotheses for pro-socialness, trust in government, observed respect for rules, rule effectiveness, rule appropriateness, fear of COVID-19 (severity and proximity), opportunities for pleasure and happiness, as well as worsened income position. We test our hypotheses with data collected at three different moments during the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in Flanders, Belgium. Findings show that over time the constellations of factors that drive compliance change and, later in the pandemic, more distinct groups of citizens with different motivations to comply are identified. The overall conclusion is that the voluntary basis for compliance becomes more fragile over time, with a more differentiated pattern of drivers of compliance emerging. Public policy and communication need to adapt to these changes over time and address different groups of citizens.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRegulation and Governance
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper has benefitted from interactions in the GOVTRUST consortium (University of Antwerp) and TiGRE consortium. TiGRE project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 870722 (TiGRE). The paper has also benefited from the funding of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) (Grant G0G1920N, 2020). The ‘Grote Corona‐studie’ is supported by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). See https://www.uantwerpen.be/nl/projecten/coronastudie/ .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Regulation & Governance published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

Research programs

  • ESL – Diversen Oud


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