COVID-19 and culture

Aatishya Mohanty, James B Ang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The USA has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide spatial variation can be seen in its spread and mortality. This raises the question of why some regions are more resilient to the pandemic than others? We hypothesize that the individualism–collectivism cleavage explains the disparity in COVID-19 cases observed across sub-national units in the USA. Cultural disparity among different groups of people leads to differences in how they perceive health crises and thereby shapes the way they respond to pandemics. A heightened sense of obligation and responsibility increases in-group sociability and interdependence and raises the perceived vulnerability towards disease transmission among collectivistic individuals, and this leads to greater adherence to containment measures and social distancing rules. Our results provide evidence that more individualistic states tend to have more COVID-19 cases across the USA.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalOxford Economic Papers
Early online date30 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2023


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