The Effect of Disinformation About COVID-19 on Consumer Confidence: Insights from a Survey Experiment
"The Effect of Disinformation About COVID-19 on Consumer Confidence: Insights from a Survey Experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics 102, no. 1 (February 2023): 101968. DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2022.101968. Available at: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1gGHG7tbfGt27a
Although the COVID-19 pandemic was accompanied by an infodemic about the origin of the virus and effectiveness of vaccines, little is known about the causal effect of this disinformation on the economy. This article fills in this void by examining the effects of disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on consumer confidence by means of an original survey experiment in Dutch speaking communities of Belgium. Our findings show that the information set that impacts consumer confidence is much broader than previously assumed. We show that disinformation changes the perception of the effectiveness of vaccines which in turn indirectly impacts the future economic outlook, measured by the metric consumer confidence. Moreover, we find that the above effects are larger for respondents exposed to disinformation that is framed as containing ‘scientific evidence’ compared to ‘conspiracy frames’.