Professor Shuguang Jiang and Professor Qian Wei’ co-authored a paper “Individualism vs. Collectivism and the Early-Stage Transmission of COVID-19” was recently accepted for publication in the interdisciplinary social science journal Social Indicators Research (IF=2.935).
They propose a perspective based on the individualism vs. collectivism cultural distinction to understand the diverging early-stage transmission outcomes of COVID-19 between countries. They posit that since individualism values personal freedom, people in such cultures would be less likely to make the collective action of staying at home and less likely to support compulsory measures. As a reaction to the public will, governments of individualistic societies would be more hesitant to take compulsory measures, leading to the delay of necessary responses. With processed COVID-19 data that can provide a fair comparison, they find that COVID-19 spread much faster in more individualistic societies than in more collectivistic societies. They further use pronoun drop and absolute latitude as the instruments for IC to address reverse causality and omitted variable bias. The results are robust to different measures. They propose to consider the role of IC not only for understanding the current pandemic but also for thinking about future trends in the world.
The working paper was firstly released on in July 2020 and has been read by more than 8000 times and has been cited 18 times before its official publication.