The effect of political ideology on governmental coronavirus response

Sequera, Adam
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Huh, Jason
Simons, Kenneth L.
Fan, Rui
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This electronic version is a licensed copy owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Copyright of original work retained by author.
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The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) separates nations into five distinct categories of political ideology. Authoritarian nations have little to no democratic elements, hybrid nations combine authoritarianism with democracy. The other three categories quantify the level of democracy present within a nation. These are strong democracies, moderate democracies, and weak democracies. Using synthetic control methods and difference-in-differences, this paper will show several interesting results that show that political ideology impacted the levels of government response across the amount of economic support provided, the level of containment and health policies enacted, and the stringency of response policy, as well as the overall level of government response to the deadly pandemic. Moderate democracies had statistically significantly increased levels of government response, enacted more health and containment policies, and were more stringent. Weak democracies were less stringent, and authoritarian nations provided increased levels of economic support, while strong democracies provided less economic support.
In late 2019 the SARS-CoV-2 virus surfaced in Wuhan, China. It quickly spread within the East Asian region, and then quickly evolved into a worldwide pandemic. In response, governments around the world reacted with a variety of policies aimed at containing the virus. The response of nations varied around the world, however many similar policies were enacted, including lockdowns, quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and mask mandates. Many different factors influenced the actions that each nation took, including cultural mores, the severity of the outbreak, and the willingness of the public to accept coronavirus-based restrictions on liberty and movement. However, another factor that influenced the levels of coronavirus response worldwide is the political ideology of nations. Political ideology can be effectively quantified using the overall levels of democracy within nations.
May 2021
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Dept. of Economics
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Rensselaer Theses and Dissertations Online Collection
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