This study uses survey data to investigate the factors affecting compliance with the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 travel restrictions. The survey contained self-reported data (n=819) regarding various aspects of Scottish residents’ COVID-19 travel behaviour. For a question gauging compliance with COVID-19 travel restrictions, ~57% of respondents complied fully, ~35% complied mostly and ~7% were slightly compliant or non-compliant. A random parameters ordered probit model, with allowances for heterogeneity in the means of random parameters, was estimated to unveil the factors affecting levels of compliance. The model estimation results showed that various sociodemographic characteristics of respondents, including, age, gender and household income significantly affected compliance. Other significant independent variables were dominated by perceptual and behavioural characteristics of respondents, such as: public trust in the Scottish Government, COVID-19 risk perceptions, COVID-19 information channels and travel mode choices at different stages of the pandemic. Two variables gauging car ownership (those with no car) and COVID-19 information channels (received through online sources) produced statistically significant random parameters, which suggests heterogeneous levels of compliance among these groups. In addition, one instance of heterogeneity in the mean of the online sources random parameter was discovered, such that levels of compliance among this group were dependent on a variable gauging highest education level. Policy implications are discussed in terms of tailoring the Scottish Government’s public health messaging to certain demographics, while the most effective channels for delivering public health information, in the case of COVID-19 and future pandemics, are also explored.


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Semple, T., Fonzone, A., Fountas, G. & Downey, L. 2023, 'An Empirical Analysis of the Factors Influencing Scottish Residents’ Compliance with COVID-19 Travel Restrictions'. To be published in SSRN [Preprint]. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4237074

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Last updated: 11 October 2023
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