Governance Indicators Explain Discrepancies in COVID-19 Data

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is neutral. It does not discriminate: the outbreak affects all countries. Yet, countries with better governance detect and report COVID-19 cases an average of 34 days earlier than countries with low governance scores. They also report a significantly higher number of cases, and more deaths but lower death-per-case ratios. Analyzing the statistical relationship between the good governance indicators devised by the World Bank with data pertaining to COVID-19 (to May 10, 2020), we present some initial yet strong statistical evidence that countries with higher levels of good governance based on the Worldwide Governance Indicators report more (cases, deaths), report earlier, and are more effective at reducing fatalities. These findings remain robust after controlling for population size, population density, old-age population, and the number of tourist arrivals. Countries with better governance are more successful in treating the disease and in reducing its deadliness. Good governance matters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)216-234
Number of pages19
JournalWorld Affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 12 2020

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