Levente Littvay

CEU Faculty Fellow
Period of Stay: 
October – December 2022
Political Science
Central European University, Austria
Project Title: 
Conspiracy Beliefs and Government Rule Compliance
Project Abstract: 

Conspiracy theories are increasingly a visible part of political life. Vaccine conspiracies were widespread even before COVID-19 and conspiratorial thinking has been tied to populist attitudes. During the pandemic, how people responded to conspiracies was literally a matter of life and death for both themselves and their surroundings. For its 2020-2021 (10th) wave, the European Social Survey included questions on the pandemic, trust, and conspiratorial thinking. Conspiracy items included general conspiratorial thinking, science conspiracies and COVID19 specific conspiracies allowing for a nuanced dissection of the relevant conspiracy attitudes. With this data, I propose to follow through the empirical pathway from trust in scientists, through conspiratorial thinking, to pandemic rule compliance. With an environmental block included in the same survey, the results can be cross-validated with pro-environment behaviors as the outcome of this pathway. Given the large number of countries’ participation in the ESS, the study utilizes multilevel structural equation modeling that allows for the influence of country-contextual factors to interact with the individual level behavioral-attitudinal relationship structures.