Culture and COVID-19-related mortality: a cross-sectional study of 50 countries

Arnold Käffer, Jörg Mahlich

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Using a cross-sectional sample of 50 countries we investigate the influence of Hofstede's six-dimensions of culture on COVID-19 related mortality. A multivariable regression model was fitted that controls for health-related, economic- and policy-related variables that have been found to be associated with mortality. We included the percentage of population aged 65 and above, the prevalence of relevant co-morbidities, and tobacco use as health-related variables. Economic variables were GDP, and the connectedness of a country. As policy variables, the Oxford Stringency Index as well as stringency speed, and the Global Health Security Index were used. We also describe the importance of the variables by means of a random forest model. The results suggest that individualistic societies are associated with lower COVID-19-related mortality rates. This finding contradicts previous studies that supported the popular narrative that collectivistic societies with an obedient population are better positioned to manage the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-430
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Public Health Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 303026 Public health


  • Humans
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Pandemics
  • Global Health
  • Prevalence
  • COVID-19
  • Policy response
  • Mortality
  • Random forest
  • Culture

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