COVID-19 and the Social Role of Indicators: A Preliminary Assessment
69 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2020 Last revised: 16 Nov 2020
Date Written: 2020
Indicators play a key role in the COVID-19 crisis. Infection and casualty rates are used as proxies for the spread and effect of the virus. There are also indicators about health care capacities, government responses, as well as combined rankings. The six contributions of this working paper explore the social role of these indicators in the COVID-19 crisis from various perspectives. We asked the contributors to reflect on one or more of the following questions: how can these and other COVID-19-related indicators be classified (descriptive, explanatory, normative etc.)? What can the prior debates about the strengths and weaknesses of indicators add to the discussion and uses of indicators in the current pandemic? Conversely, what can the way these indicators were made and used add to the academic discussion on indicators? How far do these indicators compare things that are comparable, in particular in a cross-country context? What are the advantages and dis-advantages (or uses and abuses) of these indicators? How far do (and should) these indicators guide social interventions and change behaviour? What is the role of law in terms of allowing, restricting or incorporating such indicators? What is the role of technology in this field? What are the relevant ethical considerations?
Keywords: COVID-19, COVID-19 infection rates, COVID-19 contact tracing apps, health data, governance indicators, global social indicators, global governance, sovereignty, comparative law
JEL Classification: C80, I00, I18, I38, K00, K30, K42, O20, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation