We explore the role of social capital in the spread of the recent Covid-19 pan­demic in independent analyses for Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Swe­den, Switzerland and the UK. We exploit within-country variation in social capital and Covid-19 cases to show that high-social-capital areas accumulated between 12% and 32% fewer Covid-19 cases per capita from mid-March until mid-May. Using Italy as a case study, we find that high-social-capital areas exhibit lower excess mortality and a decline in mobility. Our results have important implications for the design of local containment policies in future waves of the pandemic.

Keywords

Covid-19, social capital, collective action, health costs, Europe