Social punishment for breaching restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ryo Takahashi*, Kenta Tanaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Japanese government requested the temporary closure of businesses. Consequently, complying with restrictions came to be recognized as the social norm, and stores that continued with business as usual were seen as norm-breakers. This study empirically investigates costly punishment behavior for stores' violation of restrictions and how this behavior changes when a decision-maker receives information pertaining to contrasting norms, implicitly requiring the opposite response. By implementing joy-of-destruction minigames, we found that costly punishment behavior for norm-breakers was significantly stimulated (by approximately 11%) but not increased when additional information was provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1467-1482
Number of pages16
JournalEconomic Inquiry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct


  • COVID-19
  • Japan
  • online randomized experiment
  • social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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