Rights and Deaths: Government Reactions to the Pandemic

35 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2020

See all articles by Jose Antonio Cheibub

Jose Antonio Cheibub

Texas A&M University

Ji Yeon Jean Hong

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - School of Science

Adam Przeworski

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 7, 2020

Abstract

Democracies reacted slower than autocracies to the specter of the pandemic, and the most solidly democratic among them were particularly slow to react. We examine at which stages of the spread of the COVID governments introduced four measures that to varying degree abrogate liberal rights: school closings, bans on public meetings, compulsory lockdowns, and shutting work. We conclude that where rights are entrenched, encroaching on them is difficult. Yet we are struck that when the threat of death became sufficiently severe, many democracies resorted to the same measures as autocracies. Still, the reactions of democracies were highly heterogenous and we are unable to account for this heterogeneity.

Keywords: COVID, political economy, cross-national

JEL Classification: H12, K40, Z18

Suggested Citation

Cheibub, Jose Antonio and Hong, Ji Yeon Jean and Przeworski, Adam, Rights and Deaths: Government Reactions to the Pandemic (July 7, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3645410 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3645410

Jose Antonio Cheibub

Texas A&M University ( email )

Langford Building A
798 Ross St.
College Station, TX 77843-3137
United States

Ji Yeon Jean Hong

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - School of Science ( email )

Room 6515, 6/F, Lifts 25/26
Clear Water Bay
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Adam Przeworski (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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