Trust in researchers is more important than government

Scientists around Yan Gan From the École Normale Supérieure d’Etudes Commerciale Commerce in Paris, he interviewed a total of 54,000 people in 12 countries four times between March and December 2020. In Austria, 4,000 people participated in the study. The level of trust in our fellow human beings, government and researchers has been confirmed. In addition, questions have been raised about whether the Covid-19 measures are supported and whether they are being adhered to. The research team said in the recently published journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences profession.

Overall, the standing of researchers with an average of 84% approval in all countries is much higher than that of the respective governments (49%). Austria, along with New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom, is one of the countries with the highest levels of trust in scientists. France, Brazil and Poland are shown behind here.

Confidence in politics sank

While in countries such as Italy, the United States and France, trust in researchers has fallen sharply over time, it has remained high in Austria and New Zealand, for example. However, the decline in confidence in the government has been remarkably strong in this country. Here, the initially high approval rating of about 75 percent declined by 11 percentage points. The study recorded a similar decline only in the UK.

In their own statements, people who trusted scientists more often also support a country’s containment measures more often, the researchers report. This also resulted in a higher level of trust in political decision makers, but the impact was much lower.

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It also affects readiness for vaccination

It was the same with preparing for vaccination. This question was asked in the fourth wave of surveys (December 2020) when it became clear that there would be an opportunity to do so soon. If people trusted the researchers, their willingness to be vaccinated was also significantly higher. Overall, the results will show that maintaining faith in science is of key importance when it comes to ensuring that people support the measures, the study authors say.

In the latest wave of surveys, Algan and colleagues also sprinkled a small experiment into their study. They asked randomly selected people if people would be willing to wear masks at home if recommended by their government, the World Health Organization or the Nobel Prize in Medicine. In fact, people are more likely to follow this call if it comes from the mouth of a Nobel laureate. In Austria, by the way, very few people would respond to the suggestion in an international comparison – but most likely at the request of the highly ranked researcher.

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