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Political trust in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic: a meta-analysis of 67 studies

Political trust in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic: a meta-analysis of 67 studies
Political trust in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic: a meta-analysis of 67 studies
Trust in political actors and institutions has long been seen as essential for effective democratic governance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, trust was widely identified as key for mitigation of the crisis through its influence on compliance with public policy, vaccination and many other social attitudes and behaviours. We study whether trust did indeed predict these outcomes through a meta-analysis of 67 studies and 426 individual effect sizes derived from nearly 1.5 million observations worldwide. Political trust as an explanatory variable has small to moderate correlations with outcomes such as vaccine uptake, belief in conspiracy theories, and compliance. These correlations are heterogenous, and we show that trust in health authorities is more strongly related to vaccination than trust in the government; but compliance is more strongly related to the government than other institutions. Moreover, the unique case of the United States indicates that trust in President Trump had negative effects across all observed outcomes, except in increasing conspiracy beliefs. Our analysis also shows that research design features (such as response scales) and publication bias do not importantly change the results. These results indicate that trust was important for the management of the pandemic and supports existing work highlighting the importance of political trust.
COVID-19, Meta-analysis, Political trust, Vaccine hesitancy
0.1080/13501763.2023.2169741
1350-1763
Devine, Daniel J
6bfa5a27-1b58-4c61-8eb0-a7a40860a4ae
Valgarðsson, Viktor Orri
8f30ca41-f763-4cd2-9b08-1b4ff7ab27d9
Smith, Jessica
96f97364-8922-4e62-8581-0d2983052e20
Jennings, William
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Vettimo, Michele Scotto Di
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Bunting, Hannah
bd634648-89b8-48cc-8911-a5989d2db97a
Mckay, Lawrence
4ecf2fd8-3fbf-4a3c-9c22-6856fc1a09be
Devine, Daniel J
6bfa5a27-1b58-4c61-8eb0-a7a40860a4ae
Valgarðsson, Viktor Orri
8f30ca41-f763-4cd2-9b08-1b4ff7ab27d9
Smith, Jessica
96f97364-8922-4e62-8581-0d2983052e20
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Vettimo, Michele Scotto Di
6bdfc476-4080-4d50-92a4-ece159a882b9
Bunting, Hannah
bd634648-89b8-48cc-8911-a5989d2db97a
Mckay, Lawrence
4ecf2fd8-3fbf-4a3c-9c22-6856fc1a09be

Devine, Daniel J, Valgarðsson, Viktor Orri, Smith, Jessica, Jennings, William, Vettimo, Michele Scotto Di, Bunting, Hannah and Mckay, Lawrence (2023) Political trust in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic: a meta-analysis of 67 studies. Journal of European Public Policy. (0.1080/13501763.2023.2169741).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Trust in political actors and institutions has long been seen as essential for effective democratic governance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, trust was widely identified as key for mitigation of the crisis through its influence on compliance with public policy, vaccination and many other social attitudes and behaviours. We study whether trust did indeed predict these outcomes through a meta-analysis of 67 studies and 426 individual effect sizes derived from nearly 1.5 million observations worldwide. Political trust as an explanatory variable has small to moderate correlations with outcomes such as vaccine uptake, belief in conspiracy theories, and compliance. These correlations are heterogenous, and we show that trust in health authorities is more strongly related to vaccination than trust in the government; but compliance is more strongly related to the government than other institutions. Moreover, the unique case of the United States indicates that trust in President Trump had negative effects across all observed outcomes, except in increasing conspiracy beliefs. Our analysis also shows that research design features (such as response scales) and publication bias do not importantly change the results. These results indicate that trust was important for the management of the pandemic and supports existing work highlighting the importance of political trust.

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Accepted/In Press date: 10 January 2023
Published date: 30 January 2023
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Keywords: COVID-19, Meta-analysis, Political trust, Vaccine hesitancy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 475584
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/475584
DOI: 0.1080/13501763.2023.2169741
ISSN: 1350-1763
PURE UUID: f32acbf4-6955-4bda-b52e-24f8dd162df0
ORCID for Daniel J Devine: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0335-1776
ORCID for Viktor Orri Valgarðsson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2891-7489
ORCID for Jessica Smith: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4909-8884
ORCID for William Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896
ORCID for Lawrence Mckay: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2071-3943

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Mar 2023 17:30
Last modified: 19 Jul 2023 01:55

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Contributors

Author: Daniel J Devine ORCID iD
Author: Jessica Smith ORCID iD
Author: Michele Scotto Di Vettimo
Author: Hannah Bunting
Author: Lawrence Mckay ORCID iD

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