In government and scientists we trust: compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Federal Republic of Germany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic led the German government to introduce containment measures to suppress transmission. This article tests if compliance with those measures was influenced by trust in the governing, health, and scientific institutions that were managing the crisis. The research draws on a survey collected amid the early days of the pandemic. Principal components analysis uncover three trust dimensions: trust in scientific, political, and regional institutions. Multivariate generalized linear models then find that individuals trusting of scientific and political institutions were more likely to reduce social contacts, avoid crowded places, and maintain social distance. These effects endure net of political partisanship and exposure to social media. By demonstrating that trust influenced compliance, I reframe a public health emergency as one set within a relationship between citizens and the state and advocate for policy learning structures in which the role of trust is more meaningfully incorporated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerman Politics and Society
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • trust
  • government
  • compliance
  • covid-19
  • transmission

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