School of Social and Political Science

Jan Eichhorn co-leads project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation

Sub head

It came suddenly, unexpectedly for most, but it has profound consequences not only for people’s health: What impact does the coronavirus pandemic have on moral values and social orientations in a society?


Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, an interdisciplinary team of researchers including our own Jan Eichhorn from the University of Edinburgh, Jacobs University Bremen, the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, and Leuphana University Lüneburg is investigating this question in cooperation with the think tank d|part as a practice partner.

'Values in Crisis – a Crisis of Values? Moral Values and Social Orientations under the Imprint of the Corona Pandemic' is the title of the project. The project team engages in a prospective panel study, started by comparing attitudes of 2,000 respondents each in Great Britain and Germany. The two countries were chosen because they are comparable in terms of economic parameters, but differ greatly in the way they deal with the pandemic and its consequences.

Moral values and social orientation are considered relatively stable constructs that change only slowly. Values and social orientations are of great importance for how individuals feel about democracy or populism, for example. Project leaders are Senior Lecturer Jan Eichhorn, Edinburgh, Professor Jan Delhey, Magdeburg, Franziska Deutsch, University Lecturer at Jacobs University. Also involved are Professor Christian Welzel, Lüneburg as well as Professor Ulrich Kühnen and Professor Klaus Boehnke, Jacobs University.

As part of its 'Corona Crisis and Beyond' initiative, the Volkswagen Foundation is funding cross-disciplinary research with a total of 11.7 million euros. 102 projects from a wide range of disciplines have been approved to each receive up to 120,000 euros. The projects range from new procedures for rapid tests to linguistic investigations of conspiracy theories.