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叙事经济学、公共政策与心理健康

来源于 《比较》 2021年第1期 出版日期 2021年02月01日
文|安妮·图巴吉 弗雷德里克·布瓦 唐·韦伯

7.政策启示

  公共政策创造了一个社会运作的环境,也是导致地方社会经济决策和行为复杂化的主要因素。环境有助于解释不同地域相同条件下的反应和影响的差异,也有助于解释对相同冲击的不对称反应。根据这一推理,本文提出一种基于文化的发展方法,用于分析和理解应对新冠疫情的公共政策中根植于文化的地域差异,正如实施封闭政策的决定揭示的。

  通过比较英国和意大利对封闭政策的反应,并将这些反应与瑞典作为对照国的“一切照旧”政策进行对比,我们可以剖析三组主要的影响。首先,我们得以研究封闭政策对实施国的影响及其对另一个国家的跨国溢出效应。意大利和英国借助媒体积极参与了这场疫情的国际监测,因此它们为研究跨国溢出效应奠定了良好的基础。我们的分析确定并区分了实施不同公共政策带来的影响以及死亡人数这一客观因素产生的影响,同时也区别了国家间的文化相对性和新冠疫情时期国家间的文化滞后现象。我们从中发现,瑞典、意大利和英国在疫情前后的死亡焦虑以及民众对封闭政策的心理反应,都存在差异。

  借助谷歌趋势中对应“死亡”一词(表征民众对死亡的焦虑)的搜索频率数据,我们采用双重差分和中断时间序列分析法来确定英国和意大利的封闭政策是否产生影响。我们将瑞典作为对照国,从而充分利用了准自然的实验环境,因为瑞典不实施公共封闭政策。我们的研究结果证实,意大利的早期封闭加剧了意大利和英国的焦虑情绪,可能是因为政策制定的不对称预示着应对新冠疫情存在高度不确定性。与这一思路相契合,我们发现英国实行封闭政策减少了英国和意大利的焦虑,这或许是由于它证实了一个共识,即封闭政策是正确的生存策略。

  然而,尽管目前的研究结果显示,一个国家的封闭政策影响其民众的心理健康,但是,对每日死亡人数统计的认知理解对心理健康的影响更大。意大利的死亡人数较高,因此完全压制了该国的其他影响,而英国的公共政策在整个新冠疫情期间能持续发挥作用。我们使用带有死亡焦虑含义的替代词(“自杀”)和情绪中性词(“宜家效应”驱动的词语“椅子”)对这些结果做了交叉检验。这些稳健性检验表明,根据基于文化的发展方法提出的语言叙事经济学方法,足以为具有经济意义的政策提供依据。我们进而说明了如何使用这种方法评估公共政策和公共统计数据对公众心理健康的影响。最后,我们详细分析了有代表性的24小时窗口期的死亡焦虑,结果显示,一天中最易受到伤害(即对疫情感受最深)的时间是傍晚和凌晨。

(颜超凡译)

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