Individualism During Crises

80 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021

See all articles by Bo Bian

Bo Bian

University of British Columbia

Jingjing Li

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce

Ting Xu

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Natasha Zhang Foutz

University of Virginia

Date Written: July 9, 2021

Abstract

Individualism has long been linked to economic growth. Using the COVID-19 pandemic, we show that such a culture can hamper the economy’s response to crises, a period with heightened coordination frictions. Exploiting variation in US counties’ frontier experience, we show that more individualistic counties engage less in social distancing and charitable transfers, and are less willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines. The effect of individualism is stronger where social distancing has higher externality and holds at the individual level when we exploit migrants for identification. Our results suggest that individualism can exacerbate collective action problems during economic downturns.

Keywords: COVID-19, Culture, Individualism, Externality, Collective Action, Social Distancing, Vaccines, Redistribution

JEL Classification: D62, D64, D70, I10, I30

Suggested Citation

Bian, Bo and Li, Jingjing and Xu, Ting and Foutz, Natasha Zhang, Individualism During Crises (July 9, 2021). Review of Economics and Statistics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3626841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3626841

Bo Bian

University of British Columbia ( email )

HA 865, UBC Sauder School of Business
2053 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://bo-bian.com/

Jingjing Li

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce ( email )

P.O. Box 400173
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4173
United States

Ting Xu (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Natasha Zhang Foutz

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
4349240873 (Phone)
22904 (Fax)

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