All partners logo heb

Mizrahi et al.: Building public resilience and trust in times of Coronavirus global pandemic hazards: An integrative approach of citizens within society

On-goin research

Shlomo Mizrahi, Eran Vigoda-Gadot, Nissim Cohen
University of Haifa

In the recent two decades many societies have experienced mass emergencies, natural disasters, terror attacks and other crisis situations due to climate change, globalization and the mutual dependence between societies. The close ties between societies have increased the probability of cascading emergencies, as we have witnessed with the most recent alarming example of the global outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Such situations call for coordinated government actions, international cooperation between governments and other sectors such as non-governmental organizations and the private sector. Concurrently, governments all over the world develop and implement policy measures to minimize the effects of crises such as pandemics and increase public readiness, as well as improve the handling of crisis when it happens. Part of public readiness and coping is reflected in their emotional response and emotion regulation. In order to be effective, measures and policies require the active cooperation of citizens and communities who may bear significant costs and thus should be involved in relevant decisions.
In understanding citizens' trust in the government during emergencies it appears that responsiveness, fairness, participatory approach and effective management are all factors that can increase public trust in government. In this research, we perform a series of survey attempting to explain trust in government during emergencies, willingness to pay, cooperation with government's measures and the evaluations of government effectiveness.
The findings indicate that there is a "corona paradox" meaning that public trust in government as well as citizens' evaluations of government effectiveness gradually decline, but still people express willingness to cooperate with the government and obey. We explain this paradox by great fears or, alternatively, mental models that see the government as a sole solution for any problem. The findings also indicate that citizens' cooperation depends on the government being responsive to their demands, perform well and fairly and allow wide participation.
The research dives into the complexity of mechanisms through which citizens are incorporated into decision making process. Citizens may interpret such participatory mechanisms as a way for government to shirk its one responsibility leaving citizens to make their own decisions. Such a suspicious approach will dominate when citizens believe that government's effectiveness is low. Therefore, it is essential to build citizens' trust in the abilities of the government and create sincere feelings when establishing participatory mechanisms.
The research highlights the need to develop evidence-based policy where the government should collect data about citizens' attitudes and perceptions in forming policy to mitigate the pandemic.

For final report (in Hebrew) - see here

"How Well Do They Manage a Crisis? The Government's Effectiveness during the Covid‐19 Pandemic" to be published soon in Public Administration Review


Full PDF:

See more in Hebrew here