Epidemics and Trust: The case of the Spanish Flu

Arnstein Aassve, Guido Alfani, Francesco Gandolfi, Marco Le Moglie*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

2 Citazioni (Scopus)


Recent studies argue that major crises can have long‐lasting effects on individual behavior. While most studies focused on natural disasters, we explore the consequences of the global pandemic caused by a lethal influenza virus in 1918–19: the so‐called “Spanish Flu.” This was by far the worst pandemic of modern history, causing up to 100 million deaths worldwide. Using information about attitudes of respondents to the General Social Survey, we find evidence that experiencing the pandemic likely had permanent consequences in terms of individuals' social trust. Our findings suggest that lower social trust was passed on to the descendants of the survivors of the Spanish Flu who migrated to the United States. As trust is a crucial factor for long‐term economic development, our research offers a new angle from which to assess current health threats.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)840-857
Numero di pagine18
RivistaHealth Economics
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Spanish flu
  • epidemic
  • generalized trust
  • mortality crisis
  • pandemic


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