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Pro-sociality, altruism, and physical distancing: cultural dimensions of resiliency to Covid-19 pandemic shock

Resiliency in the face of international threats such as climate change or pandemics requires coordination and, at least short-term, self-sacrifice. Related to this, nations differ in their propensities for individualism, altruism, and collectivism. It is not clear, however, if such cultural traits facilitate the type of coordination and self-sacrifice that would encourage resilience in the face of large scale threats. Individualistic cultures may me more adept at such coordination through long-term self-gain incentives. Conversely, more prosocial, or collectivist, cultures may be better suited to solve large scale coordination problems via a willingness for self-sacrifice toward a greater good. We measure success of coordination between countries by comparing cross-country rankings of pro-sociality, altruism, collectivism, and individualism with national-level data on physical distancing during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Lead investigator:

Timothy MacNeill


Ontario Tech University

Primary topic:

Attitudes, media & governance

Region of data collection:


Status of data collection


Type of data being collected:

From private company

Unit of real-time data collection