Should I Stay (Open) or Should I Close? World Legislatures during the First Wave of COVID-19

Forthcoming in Political Studies (2022)

28 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2022

See all articles by Israel Waismel-Manor

Israel Waismel-Manor

University of Haifa

Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov

Bar-Ilan University Law Faculty

Olivier Rozenberg

Sciences Po

Asaf Levanon

University of Haifa

Cyril Benoît

Sciences Po

Gal Ifergane

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Date Written: March 11, 2022

Abstract

COVID-19 has shocked governance systems worldwide. Legislatures, in particular, have been shut down or limited due to the pandemic, yet with divergence from one country to another. In this paper, we report results from a cross-sectional quantitative analysis of legislative activity during the initial reaction to this shock and identify the factors accounting for such variation. Exploring legislatures across 159 countries, we find no relation between the severity of COVID-19 and limitations on legislatures’ operation, thus suggesting that legislatures are at risk of being shut down or limited due to policy “overreaction” and that a health risk may serve as an excuse for silencing them. However, we find that legislatures in democratic countries are relatively immune to this risk, while those in frail democracies are more exposed. In partially-free countries, the use of technology can mitigate this risk. We also find that the coalitional features of the government may lead to legislatures’ closing.

[note: This is a pre-print. the final version will be published in Political Studies (2022)]

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; governance; parliaments; legislatures; parliamentary activity; shocks; risk; risk perception; institutional change

JEL Classification: H12, I18, K00

Suggested Citation

Waismel-Manor, Israel and Bar-Siman-Tov, Ittai and Rozenberg, Olivier and Levanon, Asaf and Benoît, Cyril and Ifergane, Gal, Should I Stay (Open) or Should I Close? World Legislatures during the First Wave of COVID-19 (March 11, 2022). Forthcoming in Political Studies (2022), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4055128 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4055128

Israel Waismel-Manor

University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University Law Faculty ( email )

Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan, 52900
Israel
972-3-7387071 (Phone)
972-3-7384096 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.biu.ac.il/en/node/1726#tabs-tabset-1

Olivier Rozenberg

Sciences Po ( email )

28 Rue des Saint-Peres
Paris, Paris 75006
France

Asaf Levanon

University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

Cyril Benoît

Sciences Po ( email )

28 Rue des Saint-Peres
Paris, Paris 75006
France

Gal Ifergane

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ( email )

1 Ben-Gurion Blvd
Beer-Sheba 84105, 84105
Israel

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