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Managing the Nation and its Citizens During Times of Crisis: An assessment of national resilience, public trust, and the performance of government and bureaucratic institutions during the COVID-19 crisis and during non-crisis times

Dr. Eran Vigota-Gadot, Dr. Shlomo Mizrachi, Dr. Nissim Cohen, Dr. Adar Ben-Eliyahu, Dr. Uri Hertz, Dr. Rotem Miller-Mor, and Ms. Efrat Mishori


In this research, the public was surveyed in order to assess levels of resilience and trust in government institutions during the COVID-19 crisis, as compared with non-crisis time periods. Additionally, the survey identified psychological strategies for handling the crisis among the populous. It also established the public’s prioritization for investing in various emergency organizations. The research finds that trust in political institutions eroded during the COVID-19 crisis. However, trust in bureaucratic institutions and the healthcare system remained stable. Additionally, as the COVID-19 crisis persisted, levels of fear decreased and levels of anger increased. Furthermore, use of mechanisms for emotional regulation among individuals in the population increased.

Policy Recommendations

Based on the research, the following policy recommendations are suggested:

  • Since satisfaction and public trust are influenced by the presence of a threat, when a threat is proven false, it damages public trust. Therefore, it is important to project balanced, well-founded, realistic, and clear forecasts.
  • In order to enlist the cooperation of the public, government agencies must stay highly responsive to the needs and expectations of citizens during times of crisis. Agencies should aim to continue providing the breadth of their regular services.
  • Public trust in governing bodies can be damaged as a result of single high-profile cases (such as high-level public servants violating lockdown regulations), but is built gradually, with significant time and effort. Instances that harm public trust in government institutions should be responded to promptly and appropriately in order to mitigate their damage.
  • The erosion of public commitment and social solidarity suggests that creating governance-based channels at the local- and community-levels will ensure a more effective response for issues that arise during times of crisis.
  • The rise in feelings of anger among the public, alongside the decline in feelings of fear, point to a sense of helplessness and injustice. These feelings create a more aggressive and less empathetic society, which erodes the willingness of citizens to act in the best interest of the state and follow instructions.

Final report (Hebrew)

See publications:

Blitstein-Mishor, E., Vigoda-Gadot, E., & Mizrahi, S. (2023). Navigating Emergencies: A Theoretical Model of Civic Engagement and Wellbeing during Emergencies. Sustainability15(19), 14118.

Mishor, E., Vigoda-Gadot, E., & Mizrahi, S. (2023). Exploring civic engagement dynamics during emergencies: an empirical study into key drivers. Policy & Politics, 1-23.

Mizrahi, S., Ben-Eliyahu, A., Cohen, N., Hertz, U., Miller-Mor, R., Mishor, E., & Vigoda-Gadot, E. (2022). Public management during a crisis: when are citizens willing to contribute to institutional emergency preparedness?.Public Management Review, 1-25

Mizrahi, S., Vigoda‐Gadot, E., & Cohen, N. (2021). How well do they manage a crisis? The government's effectiveness during the Covid‐19 pandemic. Public Administration Review, 81(6), 1120-1130.

Mizrahi, S., Vigoda-Gadot, E., & Cohen, N. (2021). Drivers of trust in emergency organizations networks: The role of readiness, threat perceptions and participation in decision making. Public Management Review, 23(2), 233-253.