Policy Design for COVID-19: Worldwide Evidence on the Efficacies of Early Mask Mandates and Other Policy Interventions
Public Administration Review, Forthcoming
68 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2021 Last revised: 7 Sep 2021
Date Written: August 18, 2021
To understand the extent to which a policy instrument’s early adoption is crucial in crisis management, we leverage unique worldwide data that record the daily evolution of policy mandate adoptions and COVID-19 infection and mortality rates. The analysis shows that the mask mandate is consistently associated with lower infection rates in the short term, and its early adoption boosts the long-term efficacy. By contrast, the other five policy instruments—domestic lockdowns, international travel bans, mass gathering bans, and restaurant and school closures—show weaker efficacy. Governments prepared for a public health crisis with stronger resilience or capacity and those with stronger collectivist cultures were quicker to adopt nationwide mask mandates. From a policy design perspective, policymakers must avoid overreacting with less effective instruments and underreacting with more effective ones during uncertain times, especially when interventions differ in efficacy and cost.
Note: Funding Statement: There was no funding support provided to conduct the study.
Declaration of Interests: The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this manuscript.
Keywords: Policy design; early policy interventions; COVID-19 pandemic; crisis management; government mandates; comparative research
JEL Classification: H11, H12, I18, I19, H51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation