COVID-19, stigma, and habituation: evidence from mobility data

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Japanese government has restricted people’s going-out behavior by declaring a non-punitive state of emergency several times under COVID-19. This study aims to analyze how multiple policy interventions that impose non-legally binding restrictions on behavior associate with people’s going-out. Theory: This study models the stigma model of self-restraint behavior under the pandemic with habituation effects. The theoretical result indicates that the state of emergency’s self-restraint effects weaken with the number of times. Methods: The empirical analysis examines the impact of emergency declarations on going-out behavior using a prefecture-level daily panel dataset. The dataset includes Google’s going-out behavior data, the Japanese government’s policy interventions based on emergency declarations, and covariates that affect going-out behavior, such as weather and holidays. Results: First, for multiple emergency declarations from the beginning of the pandemic to 2021, the negative association between emergency declarations and mobility was confirmed in a model that did not distinguish the number of emergency declarations. Second, in the model that considers the number of declarations, the negative association was found to decrease with the number of declarations. Conclusion: These empirical analyses are consistent with the results of theoretical analyses, which show that the negative association between people’s going-out behavior and emergency declarations decreases in magnitude as the number of declarations increases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number98
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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