GENEVA, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Trust in government and in governmental actions "was key" to the success of countries against the COVID-19 pandemic, Nobel Prize laureate Esther Duflo said on Tuesday during a lecture hosted by the Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
"The trust in government was a key factor in the success against the pandemic," said Duflo, adding that lack of trust led to backlashes that "make our ability to solve our problems, our collective problems, even lower."
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was "pretty remarkable because it reminded us that we need governments," Duflo said.
As lockdowns and social measures were imposed by administrations around the globe, people's trust in their representatives was paramount, she added.
"If we look at the first and second wave, there was a strong negative correlation between the percentage of a population adopting trust in government and the deaths per 100,000 population," she said.
"It's the one factor that seems to be explaining those differences," added the economist, now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
However, in many richer countries of the world, especially in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD), "trust in governments has been going down for many decades," Duflo explained.
She has been studying the striking situation in the United States, where in 2013 only 35 percent of the population was trusting the federal government in Washington DC. That figure was even lower in 2020, where 20 percent of adults in the country believed their government could "do the right thing," according to a poll by Pew Research from September 2020.
Duflo shared the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with two other scholars "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."