The Dutch government is thinking about easing the anti-corona measures in the coming period. But what is the right exit strategy? And what do people actually want; how do they prefer the rules to be relaxed? The TU-Delft is carrying out an online survey, and anyone can participate and express their preferences.
“With this study, we’re putting a very large group of citizens in the chair of the cabinet,” says Niek Mouter, one of the researchers. “We have tried to imitate, as much as possible, the choice that the cabinet has to make.”
The research is carried out in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Ministries of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), and Finance. Participants are given a choice of eight scenarios, and they can also see immediately what the result of that choice is. “For example, we looked at, if you relax this measure, how much loss of income will that result in,” says Mouter.
The researchers also show the pros and cons of these choices. Not all measures can be relaxed at the same time. “Then the healthcare system will be flooded, so you really have to weigh up the various options,” says Mouter.
The question is, what happens to the results of the general public. In the main study, 5,000 Dutch citizens participated, who had been chosen based on a sample. They were paid to participate. Mouter: “The data of these people are known to the panel bureau, so we are very sure that it concerns the preferences of the average Dutch person.”
But according to Mouter, this is a subject that many people want to think about. So, the same research has also been launched for the general public. “Many people would like to be heard in this case. But we know that that research will probably lead to a distorted picture.” Mouter suggests that people may be spreading the research within their own network, over-representing a certain interest.
The study must be submitted by 7 May, if the Cabinet is to consider the results of the main study in its decisions on a possible relaxation. The results of the public research will be published on the TU Delft website. “Of course, it is up to the Cabinet to decide what to do with it.” Once these studies have been completed, TU Delft will do the same for the longer term. “Then we’ll ask the Dutch people, how they see it through to December.”
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives ONLINE Inburgering classes.