Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19: Policy Diffusion, Democracy, and Preparedness

25 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2020

See all articles by Magnus Lundgren

Magnus Lundgren

Stockholm University

Mark Klamberg

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law

Karin Sundström

Stockholm University; International Studies Association; African Studies Association

Julia Dahlqvist

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 2, 2020

Abstract

The paper relies upon legal as well as political science perspectives and methods. The first part of the paper frames pandemics within in the context of international law, focusing especially on the right to health, the WHO 2005 International Health Regulations, and derogations from human rights in normal times as well as during states of emergency. The second part of the paper sets out a theoretical framework, deriving three hypotheses for why certain states declare SOE while others do not: (i) states look to their regional peers for inspiration and legitimation, leading to patterns of regional policy diffusion; (ii) newer and less robust democracies are more likely to resort to SOEs, compared with mature democracies and dictatorships; (iii) states with a higher pandemic preparedness are less likely to resort to a SOE.

The third and fourth parts of the paper presents data and results, respectively. The results suggest that states’ declaration of SOEs is driven by both external and internal factors. A permissive regional environment, characterized by many and simultaneously declared SOEs, may have diminished reputational and political costs, making employment of emergency powers more palatable for a wider range of governments. At the same time, internal characteristics, specifically democratic institutions and pandemic preparedness, shaped governments’ decisions. Weak democracies with poor pandemic preparedness were considerably more likely to opt for a SOE than dictatorships and robust democracies with higher preparedness.

Keywords: State of emergency, COVID-19, policy diffusion, democracy, preparedness

Suggested Citation

Lundgren, Magnus and Klamberg, Mark and Sundström, Karin and Dahlqvist, Julia, Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19: Policy Diffusion, Democracy, and Preparedness (July 2, 2020). Faculty of Law, Stockholm University Research Paper No. 78, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3641384 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3641384

Magnus Lundgren

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Mark Klamberg (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 16 11 90 (Phone)
+46 8 612 41 09 (Fax)

Karin Sundström

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, SE-106 91
Sweden

International Studies Association ( email )

324 Social Sciences
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

African Studies Association ( email )

Piscataway, NJ 08854
United States

Julia Dahlqvist

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm
SWEDEN

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