Effects of Income and Financial Strain on Risky Social Behaviour in the COVID-19 Era: A Comparison of the US and Canada

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



The COVID-19 pandemic has forced marketers to adjust to different consumer responses the world over. Country responses have ranged from complete lockdowns to informal guidelines on avoiding infection. Limiting physical interactions through social distancing is key to mitigating health risks. Yet, some mitigating behaviours such as home delivery versus going to the supermarket come with a higher financial cost. A survey of American and Canadian consumers examined relationships among income, financial strain, and risky social distancing behaviours. Regression analyses found that financial strain had a stronger effect on the incidence of risky behaviours than did income. These relationships were found in the USA but not in Canada. The paper discusses the results and presents the implications for international marketers.