DP14866 Social capital and the spread of Covid-19: Insights from European countries

Author(s): Alina Bartscher, Sebastian Seitz, Sebastian Siegloch, Michaela Slotwinski, Nils Wehrhöfer
Publication Date: June 2020
Date Revised: August 2021
Keyword(s): collective action, COVID-19, Europe, health costs, social capital
JEL(s): A13, D04, D91, H11, H12, I10, I18
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14866

We investigate the effect of social capital on health outcomes during the Covid-19 pandemic in independent analyses for Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. Exploiting detailed geographical variation within countries, we show that a one-standard-deviation increase in social capital leads to between 14% and 34% fewer Covid-19 cases per capita accumulated from mid-March until end of June 2020, as well as between 6% and 35% fewer excess deaths per capita. Our results highlight the positive health returns of strengthening social capital.