Do open data impact citizens’ behavior? Assessing face mask panic buying behaviors during the Covid-19 pandemic
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Data are essential for digital solutions and supporting citizens’ everyday behavior. Open data initiatives have expanded worldwide in the last decades, yet investigating the actual usage of open data and evaluating their impacts are insufficient. Thus, in this paper, we examine an exemplary use case of open data during the early stage of the Covid-19 pandemic and assess its impacts on citizens. Based on quasi-experimental methods, the study found that publishing local stores’ real-time face mask stock levels as open data may have influenced people’s purchase behaviors. Results indicate a reduced panic buying behavior as a consequence of the openly accessible information in the form of an online mask map. Furthermore, the results also suggested that such open-data-based countermeasures did not equally impact every citizen and rather varied among socioeconomic conditions, in particular the education level.