Blame Avoidance: The Costs of Weak Accountability in a Health Disaster

38 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2021

See all articles by Ivan Fernandes

Ivan Fernandes

UFABC; CEBRAP

Gustavo Almeida Lopes Fernandes

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Business Administration

Guilherme Fernandes

University of São Paulo (USP)

Pedro Ivo Salvador

UFF - Universidade Federal Fluminense - Department of Human Science

Date Written: February 22, 2021

Abstract

Does the politics of blame avoidance among elected public authorities jeopardize policies' compliance and effectiveness to confront health crises in complex government systems? We propose a theoretical framework that explores how blame avoidance games can jeopardize public policies' effectiveness and society compliance when accountability is weak. To address that, we analyze how blame avoidance politics affected the struggle against COVID-19 in Brazil. Lack of strong accountability in a complex federative system led the country to a game of blame avoidance, which worsened compliance with social isolation policies and, thereby, COVID-19 results measured as confirmed cases and deaths of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Findings show that democracies must strengthen accountability to reduce blame avoidance social costs, including, life losses.

Keywords: COVID-19; blame avoidance; social isolation; Brazil; bolsonarism

JEL Classification: P16

Suggested Citation

Fernandes, Ivan and Almeida Lopes Fernandes, Gustavo and Fernandes, Guilherme and Salvador, Pedro Ivo, Blame Avoidance: The Costs of Weak Accountability in a Health Disaster (February 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3790705 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3790705

Ivan Fernandes (Contact Author)

UFABC ( email )

Sao Paulo
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://pgpp.ufabc.edu.br/

CEBRAP ( email )

Rua Morgado de Mateus, 615
Sao Paulo
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://https://cebrap.org.br/projetos/observatorio/

Gustavo Almeida Lopes Fernandes

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Business Administration ( email )

Sao Paulo
BRAZIL

Guilherme Fernandes

University of São Paulo (USP) ( email )

Rua Luciano Gualberto, 315
São Paulo, São Paulo 14800-901
Brazil

Pedro Ivo Salvador

UFF - Universidade Federal Fluminense - Department of Human Science ( email )

Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.professores.uff.br/pedrosalvador/

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