Correlating cultural values with COVID-19 outcomes
Earnest attempts have been made to quantify culture and relate it to other socioeconomic metrics such as GDP per capita, Human Development Index, and Corruption perception index. One approach is to use principal component analysis (PCA) to obtain orthogonal dimensions representing cultural aspects, or "culture dimensions," from the World Values Survey (WVS) and European Values Survey (EVS) datasets. In 2019, the Global Health Security (GHS) index was first released where countries were ranked according to their relative degree of pandemic preparedness but the rankings are seemingly inconsistent with number of COVID-19 cases and deaths recorded per country. We collected COVID-19 statistics, mobility data, and government policy responses of each country and correlated them with the corresponding coordinates on the culture dimensions obtained from the latest wave of WVS-EVS data (2017–2021). We found that the GHS Index rankings are moderately correlated with the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and that countries with higher rational and self-expression values were ranked more prepared and have higher vaccination rates, greater population mobility and resiliency, while those with more traditional values have higher positive rates, indicating COVID-19 cases likely unaccounted for, and more stringent government policies against COVID-19.