COVID-19, Trust and Solidarity in the EU

Cevat Giray Aksoy (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and King’s College London), Antonio Cabrales (EconPol Europe, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), Mathias Dolls (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute), Lisa Windsteiger (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance)

We design and conduct large-scale surveys and experiments in eleven European countries to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on social trust, reciprocity, solidarity as well as  institutional trust. Using incentivized outcome questions on trust and solidarity towards fellow citizens, people from other EU countries and non-EU countries, we assess the causal effect of priming respondents about the COVID-19 crisis. We find that respondents correctly believing that they live in an EU country with a below average COVID-19 incidence show higher levels of trust and reciprocity towards fellow citizens than respondents in the control group. In contrast, respondents who wrongly assume to live in a high incidence country reveal a lower level of reciprocity.
For respondents who rightly believe that incidence is high in their country we find positive treatment effects on solidarity. Our study further establishes that the pandemic reduces trust in institutions, in particular for those respondents who (rightly) believe that their country’s is strongly hit by COVID-19.


Cevat Giray Aksoy, Antonio Cabrales, Mathias Dolls, Lisa Windsteiger: "COVID-19, Trust and Solidarity in the EU", EconPol Policy Report 27