How to make universal, voluntary testing for COVID-19 work? A behavioural economics perspective

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Francesco Fallucchi
  • Luise Görges
  • Joël Machado
  • Arne Pieters
  • Marc Suhrcke

Testing is widely seen as one core element of a successful strategy to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic and many countries have increased their efforts to provide testing at large scale. As most democratic governments refrain from enacting mandatory testing, a key emerging challenge is to increase voluntary participation. Using behavioural economics insights complemented with data from a novel survey in the US and a survey experiment in Luxembourg, we examine behavioural factors associated with the individual willingness to get tested (WTT). In our analysis, individual characteristics that correlate positively with WTT include age, altruism, conformism, the tendency to abide by government-imposed rules, concern about contracting COVID-19, and patience. Risk aversion, unemployment, and conservative political orientation correlate negatively with WTT. Building on and expanding these insights may prove fruitful for policy to effectively raise people's propensity to get tested.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)972-980
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 08.2021

    Research areas

  • Behavioural economics, COVID-19 testing, Willingness-to-get-tested
  • Health sciences