Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly severe in the UK, there has been a high degree of geographic variation in COVID-19 case rates across the country. Several factors have been put forward to explain such variation in the UK and elsewhere, such as differences in population mobility, deprivation and rurality and in levels of trust in others and in government and institutions. Research from other countries suggests aspects of social capital may be differentially related to case rates at the local area level. This working paper reports on regression analysis of the impact of two types of social capital on COVID-19 case rates at the local authority level in England and Wales: civic social capital and informal social capital. Whilst civic social capital was broadly associated with lower case rates, informal social capital variables did not have a consistent significant effect. These findings are discussed with reference to similar findings from the USA and also to the effect of the control variables. A key conclusion for local authorities and others is that building positive relationships between citizens and local non-governmental organisations (e.g., sports, religious and volunteering groups) could strengthen responses to future pandemics.
|Published - 26-sep.-2022