Lessons from COVID-19 Responses in East Asia: Institutional Infrastructure and Enduring Policy Instruments

26 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020

See all articles by Brian An

Brian An

Georgia Institute of Technology

Shui Yan Tang

University of Southern California

Date Written: May 15, 2020

Abstract

Existing commentaries on government responses to COVID-19 have focused on such factors as competent leadership, policy instruments, or cultural dispositions. Yet few have provided a synthesis that examines how these factors relate to each other. This article fills this gap in the debate by comparing COVID-19 responses among five advanced economies in East Asia: Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan. While agile actions and competence of top leadership are necessary to confront an unprecedented crisis, they are by themselves insufficient. Equally critical is whether a society has the necessary institutional infrastructure in place when a crisis strikes. Policy instruments are more likely to succeed when existing institutional infrastructure supports their administration and implementation. For an instrument to generate enduring impact, it must be compatible with a polity’s underlying culture; instruments that accommodate the underlying cultural orientations are more likely to elicit public cooperation and voluntary compliance over time. Policy instruments must also address equity issues by reaching marginalized groups across all layers of the population. Progress in emergency management may be visible in mainstream society but masking brewing problems among marginalized groups. A comparison across the five advanced economies in East Asia yields several implications for comparative research and policy.

Keywords: Crisis management, institutional infrastructure, policy instrument, culture, social equity, COVID-19

JEL Classification: H80, H83

Suggested Citation

An, Brian and Tang, Shui Yan, Lessons from COVID-19 Responses in East Asia: Institutional Infrastructure and Enduring Policy Instruments (May 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3602375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3602375

Brian An (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

685 Cherry St
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.brian-y-an.com

Shui Yan Tang

University of Southern California ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
2137400379 (Phone)

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