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Cooperarion and obedience during the COVID19 pandemic

ELTE Eötvös Loránd University
Type of Study
Longitudinal study
Online survey
Key Focus of Study
People face ethical and social dilemmas that can affect the outcome of the pandemic in terms of “flattening the curve” and mitigating long term social adversities. Our goal is to understand how individual decisions are made about cooperation (i.e. acting in community-interest) and competition (i.e. acting in self-interest), and why citizens do or do not follow the rules and recommendations of authorities. In a large-scale online survey conducted at the onset of the pandemic in Hungary relying on a demographically diverse sample (N = 5848), we found exceptionally high intentions for cooperation and much lower levels of obedience. First results indicated that citizens may have the willingness to put community interest before self-interest, but cooperation with authorities is hampered by political polarization. We are continuing the research collecting longitudinal data (4 waves) using similar measures to investigate how different motivations and ideological beliefs affect the change in cooperation and obedience as the pandemic progresses. Our results will identify how cooperative behavior can be maintained or increased during the epidemic and outline their obstacles within the current political context of Hungary. Based on the findings, we can suggest more effective communication strategies for authorities and the media. The longitudinal design will allow us to make causal inferences and suggest preventive measures to mitigate potential conflicts.
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