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 2020
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 explore the role of social capital in the first wave of the recent Covid-19 pandemic in independent analyses for Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. Exploiting within-country variation, we show that a one standard deviation increase in social capital leads to between 14% and 40% fewer Covid-19 cases per capita accumulated from mid-March until end of June, as well as between 7% and 16% fewer excess deaths per capita. Our results have important implications for the design of local containment policies in possible future waves of the pandemic.