Should countries work closer together to beat COVID?

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
February 02, 2021, 4:55 PM UTC

People in some countries want closer international cooperation to tackle the pandemic but many would prefer their government to do more to act on its own

Data from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalisation Project, which tracks attitudes in 25 countries, shows the extent to which people in different countries want governments to cooperate in handling the coronavirus crisis.

Brazilians (39%), Spaniards (36%), Britons (30%) and Americans (30%) are the most likely to say their country should do less to act on its own and focus on international cooperation. Notably, these countries have all had very high numbers of COVID cases.

The countries with the highest proportions of people favouring less cooperation and governments doing more to work independently are Nigeria (40%), Indonesia (38%) and France (35%).

Danes (61%), Australians (59%) and Canadians (58%) are the most content with their country’s balance between coordinating with others and acting on its own.

Does the pandemic demonstrate the need for greater economic independence? 

The survey also asks if countries should become more independent or integrate further with the global economy in response to the coronavirus crisis.

In France, half of the public (52%) want the outcome to be a more independent economy – meaning less reliance on trade with other countries. This may not represent change as a result of the pandemic, however, with YouGov research previously showing that the French are among the most anti-globalisation nations.

This sentiment is also common in Australia (40%) where the borders had been closed for over four months when the survey was conducted. A third of Canadians and Germans (34% each) similarly want more self-sufficient economies.  

Brazilians (35%), Mexicans (34%) and South Africans (28%) are the keenest on becoming further intertwined with the global economy.

In Britain, which will depend more on international trade agreements as it’s no longer in the EU, the two sides are equally balanced, with 19% favouring greater economic integration and 19% wanting less.

Danes (62%), Indonesians (60%) and Chinese people (56%) are the most likely to say they’re happy with the status quo.

See the full results here

YouGov-Cambridge Centre

The YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research is a joint research centre run by YouGov and the Cambridge University POLIS Department, which promotes in-depth collaboration between pollsters and academic experts. Alongside research and events, the Centre contributes to teaching at the University and provides several postgraduate scholarships each year.
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