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Free Content Lockdown: a case study in how to lose trust and undermine compliance

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To protect against COVID-19, the UK Government imposed a national lockdown that shut schools and business, and required people to stay at home. This lockdown instituted a social coordination problem: it demanded the individual bear a cost – a significant restriction to their movement – in order to achieve a collective good. Initially there were remarkably high levels of social compliance with the lockdown restrictions, but the Government defense of Mr. Cummings corresponded with a notable drop in both levels of compliance and levels of trust in government. By considering the logic of social coordination problems, this paper offers an explanation as to why these drops in compliance and trust were to be expected.
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Keywords: COVID-19; compliance; social coordination; trust

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sheffield, UK

Publication date: May 2021

This article was made available online on February 16, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "Lockdown: a case study in how to lose trust and undermine compliance".

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  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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