The Paradox of Prevention: Authoritarian Past and Liberal Democracy in Times of Crisis
18 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 10 Aug 2020
Date Written: June 29, 2020
In this paper, I analyze the link between democracy and lock-down policies during times of crisis. In using multilevel regression models, I show that countries with a past of authoritarian government are more likely to impose stringent restrictions on citizens' liberties compared to countries with a democratic legacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. I explain this finding with a transference of policy practices over time. Furthermore, I compare the development of democracy before and after the "Spanish Flu'' of 1918-1920, in using interrupted time series models. My findings suggest that it is unlikely that this historic pandemic contributed significantly to the decline of democracy. The results of this research indicate that past rather than present regime forms explains lockdown stringency. In addition, anti-pandemic policies do not seem to cause a decline of democracy but rather reinforce pre-existing trends in regime development.
Keywords: Democracy, Lockdown, Pandemic, Authoritarian Regime, Public Policy
JEL Classification: H41, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation