A special wave of the Booth/Kellogg Financial Trust Index shows a high level of compliance with social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders. Approximately 45 percent of respondents believe that the cost of the lockdown is higher than the potential cost of the coronavirus outbreak.
A special wave of the Financial Trust Index (FTI), which is administered by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and captures the levels of trust that Americans have in institutions, shows a high level of compliance with the social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders.
Key findings include:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the most trusted governmental institution. The CDC is the most trusted institution, with approximately 59 percent of the respondents saying they trust it. State governors are the second most trusted, with 50 percent of respondents, and the federal government falls behind with only 31 percent of the respondents reporting trust.
- Almost half of the respondents believe that the cost of the lockdown is higher than the potential cost of the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the high level of trust in the CDC, approximately 45 percent of the respondents believe that the total cost of the lockdown and the continued stay-at-home orders is higher than the cost of the coronavirus outbreak itself.
- Most working Americans have worked from home in the previous week. About 12% were unemployed at the time of the survey. Among those with a job, about 51% worked from home in the previous seven days, and about 36% left their houses to go to work. Of those who left their houses, 50 percent responded that their job was deemed essential, 42 percent said that their job cannot be performed from home and they cannot afford to lose their job, and only 7 percent reported that their employer did not introduce that option. Nevertheless, the vast majority of these workers (approximately 95 percent) responded that they would not go to work if they presented any symptoms of coronavirus.
- Respondents are limiting their social contact and taking precautions when leaving their homes. Approximately 79 percent of the respondents had close physical contact with fewer than six people in the previous week, and only 20 percent reported that they would not wear masks when going to buy groceries. Of those, 56 percent self-identified as Republican or Republican-leaning, 31 percent as Democratic or Democratic-leaning, and 12 percent as Independent. However, 96 percent of all respondents would not visit a grocery shop if they presented any symptoms of coronavirus.
ABOUT THE FINANCIAL TRUST INDEX: The Financial Trust Index was created in 2008 as a means to study changes in trust in the financial industry and the impact of trust on investors’ decisions. The index monitors the annual level of Americans’ trust in institutions and regularly evaluates how current events, policy, and government intervention may affect it. The initiative is sponsored jointly by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is administered by Social Science Research Solutions.
ABOUT THE SURVEY: On an annual basis, the Financial Trust Index captures the level of trust that Americans have in institutions. The study was conducted for the Financial Trust Index via telephone by SSRS, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted on April 6th, 2020 – April 12th, 2020 among US adults. A total of 980 interviews were conducted, with a margin of error for total respondents of +/-3.43 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. More information about SSRS can be obtained by visiting www.ssrs.com.
THE SURVEY LEAD AUTHORS: Efraim Benmelech is the Harold L. Stuart Professor of Finance, the Director of the Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research at the Kellogg School of Management. Paola Sapienza is the Donald C. Clark/HSBC Chair in Consumer Finance Professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Luigi Zingales is the Robert R. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the Faculty Director of the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Editor’s note: this article was updated on April, 28th: the comparison is between the cost (not the “economic” cost) of the lockdown and the cost of the coronavirus outbreak
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