Seminar with Palina Kolvani (University of Oslo)
Title of the presentation: "Fighting the Disease or Manipulating the Data? Democracy, State Capacity, and the COVID-19 Pandemic"
We discuss and analyze how regime type and state capacity shape the abilities and incentives of political leaders to respond to COVID-19. We argue that there is likely a complementary relationship between democracy and state capacity, both in terms of mitigating adverse consequences of the pandemic, such as deaths, and the honest reporting of these consequences. Using a recent, global dataset on officially reported COVID-19 deaths and estimated deaths based on excess mortality, we find evidence supporting different implications from our argument. Democracies have much higher officially reported death tolls than autocracies, but this basically reflects underreporting in autocracies. In high-capacity states, democracies have fewer actual deaths than autocracies. State capacity, generally, seems to mitigate both actual deaths and underreporting, but these relationships are stronger in democracies. Countries that combine democracy and high state capacity both experience fewer COVID-19 deaths and provide more accurate tolls of the pandemic's consequences.
To receive the Zoom link, please contact Marina Povitkina