Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

Isabell Hoffmann, Catherine E. de Vries

The Empathy Effect

Empathy and the COVID-19 Pandemic in European Public Opinion

Format Type
Date of publication
1. edition
44 pages, Brochure
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Free of charge

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In our previous report, The Optimism Gap, we found that a substantial share of the EU’s population thinks that their own country is not doing well, despite still being hopeful about their own lives. We called this the “optimism gap”. We also discussed what this might mean for the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and European governments’ response to it. People’s tendency to overestimate their own personal resilience in the face of imminent danger could lead to undesirable social outcomes. While European governments have appealed to their citizens’ sense of responsibility by suggesting that individuals should adhere to the rules, thus benefiting everyone, compliance has been far from universal.

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