Democrats, Authoritarians, and the Coronavirus: Who is Winning at Policy Eﬃcacy?
Are democrats or authoritarians "winning'" in their responses to the 2019-2020 Coronavirus Pandemic? In this paper, we study the effects of political regime type on the stringency of adopted public health policies and on the time lag between the first reported cases of COVID-19 and the adoption of the most stringent national policies to date. We learn that political regime type does not impact the stringency of policies adopted but that authoritarian regimes are quicker to implement their most stringent public health policies in response to COVID-19. Our results provide newfound knowledge to policymakers involved in responding to the coronavirus.
- Democratic governments ought to be mindful of and work to counteract otherwise desirable institutional constraints (e.g. checks and balances) in moments of crisis to aid prompt policy responsiveness.
- Wealthier countries ought to guard against slow policy responsiveness enabled by strong institutional capacity and healthcare infrastructure.
- Insofar as policy responses impact the severity of the crisis, they also have the potential to indirectly impact political regime stability. Democratic governments ought to be wary of this possibility.