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Dimiter Toshkov, Brendan Carroll and Kutsal Yesilkagit in the Washington Post

Dimiter Toshkov, Associate Professor, Brendan Carroll, Assistant Professor, and Kutsal Yesilkagit, Professor International Governance, of Leiden University, wrote an article for the Washington Post about the European governmenets that acted quickly in times of a pandemic. And these governments are not the ones you would expect.

Governments around the world are deciding when and how to reopen their societies and economies. Some prioritize rebooting the economy over the threat the coronavirus still poses to public health. Others are less willing to risk new coronavirus hotspots, and prefer to extend the lockdowns.

These decisions will shape the social and economic impacts of this pandemic, not to mention the course of the disease in each country. So how and when did European decide to shut down two months ago?

Toshkov, Carroll and Yesilkagit studied the timing of the decisions of 31 European governments to close down schools, impose national lockdowns and declare states of emergency in response to the coronavirus. What they found is quite surprising: Countries with greater government capacity, more freedoms and higher social trust were generally slower to adopt restrictive measures. The speed of the government responses has been of paramount importance for containing the spread and limiting the death toll, so these insights may be helpful for future coronavirus decision-making.

To read about why the higher capacity lead to slower government response and the full article, click here.

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