Public perception of scientists as trustworthy experts is likely to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, a new LSE research paper by SRC Research Associate Orkun Saka and co-authors Barry Eichengreen and Cevat Giray Aksoy, published in the Journal of Public Economics has found.

While the view of science as a reliable resource will likely remain unaffected, the trustworthiness and integrity of individual scientists could be “significantly” impacted, particularly among young people who have had exposure to the disease, the study revealed.  

In the paper, Revenge of the Experts: Will COVID-19 Renew or Diminish Public Trust in Science?, the researchers investigated how global pandemics since 1970 have affected trust in science and scientists. They found individuals who had the highest level of exposure to an epidemic during their impressionable years (aged 18 to 25) were 11 per cent less likely to trust scientists than those who had not been exposed to an epidemic during the same life period.

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