Cooperation and Trust Across Societies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Cross-societal differences in cooperation and trust among strangers in the provision of public goods may be key to understanding how societies are managing the COVID-19 pandemic. We report a survey conducted across 41 societies between March and May 2020 (N = 34,526), and test pre-registered hypotheses about how cross-societal differences in cooperation and trust relate to prosocial COVID-19 responses (e.g., social distancing), stringency of policies, and support for behavioral regulations (e.g., mandatory quarantine). We further tested whether cross-societal variation in institutions and ecologies theorized to impact cooperation were associated with prosocial COVID-19 responses, including institutional quality, religiosity, and historical prevalence of pathogens. We found substantial variation across societies in prosocial COVID-19 responses, stringency of policies, and support for behavioral regulations. However, we found no consistent evidence to support the idea that cross-societal variation in cooperation and trust among strangers is associated with these outcomes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These results were replicated with another independent cross-cultural COVID-19 dataset (N = 112,136), and in both snowball and representative samples. We discuss implications of our results, including challenging the assumption that managing the COVID-19 pandemic across societies is best modeled as a public goods dilemma.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Romano, A; Spadaro, G; Balliet, D; Joireman, J; Lissa, CV; Jin, S; Agostini, M; Bélanger, JJ; Gützkow, B; Kreienkamp, J; Leander, NP; Abakoumkin, G; Khaiyom, JHA; Ahmedi, V; Akkas, H; Almenara, CA; Atta, M; Bagci, SC; Basel, S; Kida, EB; Buttrick, NR; Chobthamkit, P; Choi, HS; Cristea, M; Csaba, S; Damnjanovic, K; Danyliuk, I; Dash, A; Di Santo, D; Douglas, KM; Enea, V; Faller, DG; Fitzsimons, G; Gheorghiu, A; Gómez, Á; Han, Q; Helmy, M; Hudiyana, J; Jeronimus, BF; Jiang, DY; Jovanović, V; Kamenov, Ž; Kende, A; Keng, SL; Kieu, TTT; Koc, Y; Kovyazina, K; Kozytska, I; Krause, J; Kruglanski, AW; Kurapov, A; Kutlaca, M; Lantos, NA; Lemay, EP; Lesmana, CBJ; Louis, WR; Lueders, A; Malik, NI; Martinez, A; McCabe, KO; Milla, MN; Mehulić, J; Mohammed, I; Molinario, E; Moyano, M; Muhammad, H; Mula, S; Muluk, H; Myroniuk, S; Najafi, R; Nisa, CF; Nyúl, B; O’keefe, PA; Osuna, JJO; Osin, EN; Park, J; Pica, G; Pierro, A; Rees, J; Reitsema, AM; Resta, E; Rullo, M; Ryan, MK; Samekin, A; Santtila, P; Sasin, E; Schumpe, BM; Selim, HA; Stanton, MV; Stroebe, W; Sultana, S; Sutton, RM; Tseliou, E; Utsugi, A; Breen, JAV; Van Veen, K; Vandellen, MR; Vázquez, A; Wollast, R; Yeung, VWL

Published Date

  • August 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 622 - 642

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-5422

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0221

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0022022120988913

Citation Source

  • Scopus