The Impact of State Capacity on the Cross-Country Variations in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates
14 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 9, 2021
The initial period of vaccination shows strong heterogeneity between countries’ vaccinations rollout, both in the terms of the start of the vaccination process and in the dynamics of the number of people that are vaccinated. A predominant thesis in the ongoing debate on the drivers of this observed heterogeneity is that a key determinant of the swift and extensive vaccine rollout is state capacity. Here, we utilize two measures that quantify different aspects of the state capacity: i) the external capacity (measured through the soft power and the economic power of the country) and ii) the internal capacity (measured via the country’s government effectiveness) and investigate their relationship with the coronavirus vaccination outcome in the initial period (up to 30th January 2021). By using data on 189 countries and a two-step Heckman approach, we find that the economic power of the country and its soft power are robust determinants of whether a country has started with the vaccination process. In addition, the government effectiveness is a key factor that determines vaccine roll-out. Altogether, our findings are in line with the hypothesis that state capacity determines the observed heterogeneity between countries in the initial period of COVID-19 vaccines rollout.
Keywords: state capacity, COVID-19, Heckman selection
JEL Classification: C54, F51, F63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation