Rights and Deaths: Government Reactions to the Pandemic
35 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 7, 2020
Democracies reacted slower than autocracies to the specter of the pandemic, and the most solidly democratic among them were particularly slow to react. We examine at which stages of the spread of the COVID governments introduced four measures that to varying degree abrogate liberal rights: school closings, bans on public meetings, compulsory lockdowns, and shutting work. We conclude that where rights are entrenched, encroaching on them is difficult. Yet we are struck that when the threat of death became sufficiently severe, many democracies resorted to the same measures as autocracies. Still, the reactions of democracies were highly heterogenous and we are unable to account for this heterogeneity.
Keywords: COVID, political economy, cross-national
JEL Classification: H12, K40, Z18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation