The Empathy Effect. Empathy and the COVID-19 Pandemic in European Public Opinion

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Series Details Number 2
Publication Date December 2020
ISSN 2365-9661
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In this report, the authors explore the role of empathy in connection with compliance with the rules set out by national governments to address the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. To what extent does empathy in the sense of being sensitive to the fate of other people help us understand people’s willingness to engage in COVID-19-related health behavior? Does empathy impact people’s views regarding the role that European cooperation should play in the pandemic?

The authors shed light on these questions by presenting evidence based on a survey conducted in June 2020, in which we interviewed nearly 13,000 EU citizens. Our data is representative for the European Union (EU) as a whole, as well as for the seven member states of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

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