Preprints with The Lancet is part of SSRN´s First Look, a place where journals identify content of interest prior to publication. Authors have opted in at submission to The Lancet family of journals to post their preprints on Preprints with The Lancet. The usual SSRN checks and a Lancet-specific check for appropriateness and transparency have been applied. Preprints available here are not Lancet publications or necessarily under review with a Lancet journal. These preprints are early stage research papers that have not been peer-reviewed. The findings should not be used for clinical or public health decision making and should not be presented to a lay audience without highlighting that they are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed. For more information on this collaboration, see the comments published in The Lancet about the trial period, and our decision to make this a permanent offering, or visit The Lancet´s FAQ page, and for any feedback please contact

Confidence in Public Institutions is Critical in Containing the COVID-19 Pandemic

12 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2021

See all articles by Anna Adamecz-Völgyi

Anna Adamecz-Völgyi

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute

Ágnes Szabó-Morvai

Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Institute of Economics CERS-HAS (IEHAS)



Background There is substantial heterogeneity in COVID-19 prevalence and deaths across countries. Several potential mechanisms have already been revealed behind this phenomenon, and from policy point of view, it is key to find the most important ones to fight pandemics that are expected to occur more often in the future.

Methods We employ regression and machine learning methods to identify the most critical predictors of deaths attributed to the pandemic. We control for each type of confounding factors used in the previous articles.

Findings We find that confidence in public institutions is one of the most important predictors of deaths attributed to COVID-19, compared to country-level measures of individual health risks, the health system, demographics, economic and political development, and social capital. A one standard deviation increase (e.g., the actual difference between the US and Finland) in confidence is associated with 350·9 (95% CI -531·922 - -169·831, p=0·000) fewer predicted deaths per million inhabitants.

Interpretation Our results suggest that effective policy implementation during pandemics requires citizens to cooperate with their governments, and willingness to cooperate relies on confidence in public institutions.

Funding Hungarian National Scientific Research Program (PD128850 and FK131422).

Declaration of Interest: None to declare.

Suggested Citation

Adamecz-Volgyi, Anna and Szabo-Morvai, Agnes, Confidence in Public Institutions is Critical in Containing the COVID-19 Pandemic. Available at SSRN: or

Anna Adamecz-Volgyi (Contact Author)

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute ( email )

United Kingdom

Agnes Szabo-Morvai

Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Institute of Economics CERS-HAS (IEHAS) ( email )

Budaorsi ut 45
Budapest, 1112

Click here to go to

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics