Response to Lindström (2020) on "The trouble with trust: time-series analysis of social capital, income inequality, and COVID-19 deaths in 84 countries"

Frank J. Elgar*, Anna Stefaniak, Michael J. A. Wohl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is substantial cross-national variation in the damage caused by COVID-19 and scant evidence on social and cultural factors that contribute to this variation. Our ecologic study of country differences in COVID-19 mortality found that deaths have increased faster in societies that had less confidence in state institutions and less civic engagement, more social trust and group affiliations, and higher income inequality (Elgar et al., 2020). Here, we respond to three criticisms of the study raised by Lindstrodm (2020) regarding (1) socioeconomic patterns in influenza pandemics and the current COVID-19 pandemic, (2) data gaps in cross-national studies of wealth inequality and (3) the robustness of our findings across previous survey cycles of the World Values Survey. We stand by our results and encourage further investigation using larger samples, longer time periods and different approaches and measures. It is vital for social science to contribute to policy decisions that can mitigate the enormous human toll of the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113518
Number of pages2
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume265
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Social capital
  • Income inequality
  • Covid-19
  • Ecological study
  • Socioeconomic status

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