Local Impact of Global Crises, Institutional Trust, and Consumer Well-Being: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Vasileios Davvetas, Aulona Ulqinaku, Gülen Sarial Abi

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Global crises become increasingly more frequent and consequential. Yet, the impact of these crises is unevenly distributed across countries, leading to discrepancies in (inter)national crisis-regulating institutions’ ability to uphold public trust and safeguard their constituents’ well-being. Employing the paradigm of citizens as customers of political institutions, drawing
on attribution and socio-political trust theories, and using the COVID-19 pandemic as empirical context, we investigate how consumers’ relative perceptions of local impact following a global crisis affect the psychological processes of institutional trust-formation and consumer well-being. Conducting one survey-based study in two countries affected disproportionately by the pandemic’s first wave (USA, Greece) and one experimental study in a third country (Italy) during the pandemic’s second wave, we find that institutional trust declines more in countries whose citizens hold perceptions of higher relative local impact following a global crisis; institutional blame attributions explain trust erosion; institutional distrust decreases consumer well-being and adherence to institutional guidelines; consumers’ globalization attitudes immunize international institutions from blame and distrust; and political conservatives transfer blame and distrust from national to international institutions amidst global crises. The findings enrich institutional branding and trust literatures and have implications for stakeholders involved in global crisis-management (policymakers, political marketers, institutional brand managers).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Marketing
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)73-101
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: May 20 2021.


  • Global crises
  • Institutional trust
  • Attribution theory
  • Globalization attitude
  • Political orientation
  • Well-being

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