Social value orientations and public confidence in institutions: A young democracy under the imprint of COVID-19

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Sheena Moosa
Aminath Riyaz
Raheema Abdul Raheem
Hawwa Shiuna Musthafa
Aishath Zeen Naeem


Social value orientations (SVOs) of a society determine peoples' behaviour and are critical for young democracies in crises. This paper draws on the Maldives Values in Crisis survey, conducted during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. SVOs assessed using the Schwartz Personal Values Questionnaire shows that Maldivian society weigh slightly towards prosocial. Urban-rural, age, and gender determine the SVOs on the dimension of Openness to change versus Conservation while age and gender determine the SVOs on Self-enhancement versus Self-transcendence dimension. Confidence in the public institutions were moderate and not associated with the SVOs. The moderate level of SVOs and confidence in institutions reflects the democratic landscape of the country. Although prosocial SVOs are favourable for implementing containment measures of the pandemic, without a strong value orientation towards conservation and self-transcendence, and confidence in the institutions, the country faces the risk of non-compliance to measures and escalation of the crisis.

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Articles (refereed)