According to a recent paper by Gelfand et al., COVID-19 infection and case mortality rates are closely connected to the strength of social norms: “Tighter” cultures that abide by strict social norms are more successful in combating the pandemic than “looser” cultures that are more permissive. However, countries with similar levels of cultural tightness exhibit big differences in mortality rates. We are investigating potential explanations for this fact. Using data from Germany and Japan—two “tight” countries with very different infection and mortality rates—we examined how differences in socio-demographic and other determinants explain differences in individual preventive attitudes and behaviors.
Keywords: COVID-19, preventive health behavior, vaccination, social norms, Japan, Germany, mandatory vaccination, SARS-CoV-2