Explaining the Homogeneous Diffusion of Covid-19 Policies among Heterogenous Countries
Social Science Research Network
Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is a new approach to conceptualization and measurement of democracy. The headquarters -the V-Dem Institute -is based at the University of Gothenburg with 19 staff. The project includes a worldwide team with six Principal Investigators, 14 Project Managers, 30 Regional Managers, 170 Country Coordinators, Research Assistants, and 3,000 Country Experts. The V-Dem project is one of the largest ever social science research-oriented data collection programs. Please
... ograms. Please address comments and/or queries for information to: V-Dem Institute Abstract The need for non-pharmaceutical interventions aimed at curtailing the spread of infectious diseases depends crucially on country-specific demographic and public health situations. However, the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic saw an almost homogeneously rapid adoption of such interventions across otherwise heterogeneous countries. We analyze the adoption of disease-transmission interventions in the OECD countries, and find that they are only weakly predicted by standard epidemiological indicators (confirmed infections, deaths, intensive care capacity) but strongly predicted by standard indicators in the literature on diffusion of interventions (number countries adopting the same policy; in particular, the number of proximate countries). We also examine whether the level of democracy in a given country influences the speed at which it adopts such interventions. We provide insights for research on international policy diffusion and the emerging strand of research pondering the political consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.