Individualism and the fight against COVID-19
Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62) › 21_Publication in refereed journal › peer-review
Related Research Unit(s)
|Journal / Publication||Humanities and Social Sciences Communications|
|Online published||6 Apr 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
Publisher's Copyright Statement
|Link to Scopus||https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85127963727&origin=recordpage|
What is the role of societal culture in the individualism-collectivism paradigm in pandemic containment? In the prolonged fight against COVID-19, government-initiated non-pharmaceutical interventions critically hinges on citizens’ adherence to these restrictive policies. Using an international setting, this research shows that countries scoring high on individualism generally have a more severe COVID-19 situation throughout the trajectory of the pandemic. This link between individualism and the severity of the virus situation is plausibly due to social non-cooperativeness in individualistic countries which reduces the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions aimed at mitigating the virus situation. Exploiting cultural disparity in the individualism-collectivism paradigm between former East and West German districts, this research further demonstrates that, after controlling for local characteristics that can affect the pandemic outcome, former East German districts have a less severe COVID-19 situation than former West German districts. Evidence collectively suggests that a greater reluctance among people in more individualistic cultures to heed virus-fighting policies impose a negative public health externality in a pandemic.
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