How National Culture Influences the Speed of COVID-19 Spread: Three Cross-Cultural Studies

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 57(2-3) Sage Journals Published In Pages: 193-238
By Huang, Xiaoyu, Gupta, Vipin, Feng, Cailing, Yang, Fu, Zhang, Lihua, Zheng, Jiaming, Van Wart, Montgomery


This research examines how national culture influences the speed of COVID-19 spread in different countries. Three studies were conducted, and five national cultural dimensions were found to be significantly related to the speed of COVID-19 spread in the initial stages of the pandemic. These dimensions are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, humane orientation, in-group collectivism, and cultural tightness. The research found that COVID-19 spreads faster in countries with small power distance and strong uncertainty avoidance, low humane orientation and high in-group collectivism, and slower in countries with high cultural tightness.


Each variable under consideration is studied across 13 different phases, each of which represents a successive stage in the number of COVID-19 cases a country has had. More details on these phases can be found in the chart on page 201.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
World BankOther researchersGDP data, health expenditure data
Our World COVID-19 datasetOther researchersCOVID-19 data, demographics, and health-related characteristics
Hofstede et al., 2010Other researchersCultural dimensions
House et al., 2004Other researchersCultural dimensions
Gelfand et al., 2011Other researchersCultural tightness

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