The Societal Responses to COVID-19: Evidence from the G7 Countries

28 Pages Posted: 18 May 2021

See all articles by Katharina Lima de Miranda

Katharina Lima de Miranda

Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Dennis Snower

Global Solutions Initiative Foundation GmbH

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2021


This paper provides a new picture of how countries have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by examining the effects of the pandemic in terms of normative foundations for societal wellbeing. Social prosperity depends primarily on the functioning of four domains: the economy, the state, civil society and the environment. We use the Recoupling Dashboard— composed of four main indexes: Solidarity (S), Agency (A), GDP (material Gain, G) and Environmental sustainability (E) —to uncover the divergent experiences of countries in 2020. This paper focuses on the G7 countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—as the first step towards a wider appraisal. In all countries under review we see a sharp drop in GDP due to the pandemic and a corresponding drop in CO2 emissions. The uniformity of response in the economic and environmental domains stands in sharp contrast to the diversity of social responses to the challenge of cooperation that the coronavirus posed. The only clear pattern that emerges from cross-country comparisons is that Inward Solidarity, important for social cohesion in close social networks, and Outward Solidarity, important for the will to cooperate with other nations and cultures, have drifted apart in all G7 countries except Japan. Otherwise the movements in solidarity are highly idiosyncratic. In addition, the responses of Agency to the pandemic are diverse and are not noticeably correlated with the changes in Solidarity. The discrepancies in the social responses to the pandemic may be expected to have potentially important implications for how these countries fare during the pandemic and how well they come out of this crisis.

Suggested Citation

Lima de Miranda, Katharina and Snower, Dennis, The Societal Responses to COVID-19: Evidence from the G7 Countries (2021). CESifo Working Paper No. 9076, Available at SSRN:

Katharina Lima de Miranda (Contact Author)

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

Kiellinie 66
Kiel, Schleswig-Hosltein 24105

Dennis Snower

Global Solutions Initiative Foundation GmbH ( email )

Friedrichstraße 194 – 199
Berlin, 10117

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