Canadian Journal of Political Science
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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread calls from government officials for people to drastically change their behaviour to slow the spread of the disease. From self-quarantining to maintaining physical distance from others, these measures only work if there is widespread adherence. In this article, we explore how one's sense of duty and one's perception of other people's behaviour shape who follows health recommendations. Drawing on the 2020 Democracy Checkup survey, we show that one's own sense of duty and a belief that most other Canadians are adhering to the rules decrease how often people report breaking the rules. Furthermore, among those who lack a sense of duty, a belief that others are following the rules is particularly important. We conclude by discussing how collective action in a pandemic depends on ensuring a broad sense that Canadians are in the crisis together, with everyone doing their part.