Work package 4: Economy and Society

Research question/focus

In the work package "Economy and Society", the assumption is tested whether the political and economic system can influence the course of the crisis by making epidemiologically "better" decisions (e.g. longer lockdown; more monitoring of infection chains). At the same time, it is also possible to map what consequences, for example, various economic support measures have on the outcome of the pandemic. For this purpose, economic as well as symptomatic indicators are collected at the societal and health levels and related to policy decisions. If the predicted results of politically imposed or ignored restrictions and support programs are reflected in the course of the crisis, it can also be assumed that the citizens' satisfaction with their system and the (elected) representatives will change, possibly leading to consequences for the political system. This feedback loop can also be mapped in a second step via the database.


Despite the common shock, the pandemic is unfolding very differently in different countries - caused by the status quo of the system and the policy choices that have been and are being made to contain the pandemic. This raises questions about political, economic, and societal system characteristics as well as policy-making and implementation capabilities of individual countries.

In order to verify the assumption that the decisions taken will lead to different developments, indicators of the economic and social consequences resulting from the characteristics of the system or the decisions taken must be collected. In other words, it is a matter of mapping both directly measurable economic and social developments and symptomatic indicators, which make the direct consequences of the decisions or their acceptance and fulfillment by citizens measurable. To this end, changes in the status quo at the political, economic, health and societal levels are surveyed, as are health developments and newly emerging consequences of the pandemic (control).

In a further step, feedback effects on the political system are examined by questioning the extent to which, for example, citizens' approval of their system or trust in elected representatives changes because of the decisions made or the course of the crisis. 


1. Literature, data research and operationalization

In the first step, hypotheses are formulated based on existing knowledge in the disciplines of political science, economics, sociology, and health science in conjunction with the specifics of the Covid-19 pandemic. Particular attention is given to the evolution of the pandemic, the resilience of political systems, the behavior and recovery of the economy during and after crises, and the economic and political consequences of the pandemic. The theoretical knowledge is written down and operationalized in variables, and initial literature and data research is initiated.

2. Basic Data Set & Deeper Elaboration

First, economic, social, health and political indicators are collected, broken down and compiled from various data sources. Symptomatic indicators such as social peace or trust in a functioning system are then developed. This is followed by empirical analyses, in the course of which descriptive representations of the interrelationships in the individual countries are developed and conclusions are derived.

3. Elaboration and analysis of the political feedback effects.

The third step focuses on the feedback for the political system. It will be examined to what extent the management of the crisis leads to changes in attitudes toward the political system in an international comparison and thus possibly to shifts. Recommendations for action are then developed. Here, the focus is on the effects of the Covid-19 crisis and decisions made on political systems.

Fraunhofer ISI

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) is an institution of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with a focus on the interdisciplinary analysis of conditions for the emergence of innovations and their effects. Knowledge from the fields of technology, social science and economics comes together in seven different Competence Centers. The research goal of Fraunhofer ISI is to consider challenges of current and future generations at the present time in order to be able to present innovative solutions on a national as well as international level for a sustainable future. For this purpose, scientists from different disciplines work today on tomorrow's solutions according to the highest scientific standards. 


The cross-connections to other work packages are essential, because, according to our assumption, political decisions have led to the economic, societal and health consequences or have at least played a significant role in determining them. Therefore, strong links have to be drawn to the upstream work package 3 "Political Decisions", work package 6 on "Hazard Prevention and Management" and, if applicable, work package 5 "Innovation". Due to the strong quantitative orientation of this work package, work package 2 "Research Data Management" continues to be an important cooperation partner.

Expected results

Work package 4 generates a large database of variables covering the course of the Covid-19 pandemic in all its economic, political, health and social facets. Their analytical processing enables the derivation of consequences that arose from political action, as well as insights into the resilience of the system. It develops an indicator framework that maps economic, societal, political, and health impacts of decisions made during the Covid-19 pandemic.

work package 1

Project management

work package 2

Research data management

work package 3

Political decisions for the containment of the Corona pandemic

work package 5

International innovation networks

work package 6

Civil protection and security

work package 7

Application-oriented research

work package 8

Recommendations for action