Culture is the filter through which emotions (such as anxiety during ecological or economic crisis) are translated into feelings. The Culture Based Development (CBD) paradigm emphasises that feelings (or what economists term ‘individual utility’) drive socio-economic choice and when they change, they do so following a cultural hysteresis process that redefines the order of preferences in socio-economic choice. This newly rearranged order of preferences that decision makers develop under exogenous shock conditions leads to different types of choices over the same problems from past situations and lower predictability of the behaviour of the entire socio-economic system results. This paper overviews the cultural hysteresis mechanism and its development during the COVID-19 period from micro, regional and macro-economic perspectives. Using data from an international individual level survey, regional statistics and cross-country comparison and employing a host of econometric techniques and the CBD analytical approach, the current paper helps to elicit the mechanism through which culture defines a very big part of the socio-economic response to the calamity. The provided empirical evidence sheds light on the manner through which culture underlies the effectiveness and psychological impacts of the calamity-related policy interventions for people, their immediate regional realities and cross-country differences in mental health aftermaths and general well-being levels during the pandemic of COVID-19.
Keywords: culture, cultural hysteresis, mental health, wellbeing, Culture Based Development