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State capacity and the triple-COVID-19 crises: an international comparison

Abstract: The COVID-19 multidimensional crisis poses a formidable challenge for human society as it is simultaneously and globally damaging the public health, the economic activity and the social wellbeing. The complexity and severity of this crisis has revealed the weaknesses and heterogeneities of States' capacities to respond to the global pandemic. In this article, we raise the important question about which type of State capacity has been more effective for dealing with the negative effects of the pandemic. Our research proposes a hierarchical cluster analysis of countries that distinguishes three dimensions of the crisis (the health, the economic and the social crises) and measures both the States' efforts (the 'inputs') for containing these crises, and the corresponding effects (the 'outputs') that result from the previous inputs. We classify 99 countries worldwide into four groups in 2020. Our results reveal that there is no simple 'linear' representation of the COVID-19 multi-crises in terms of State capacity (each cluster of countries has its own and specific State characteristics and crisis effects). We thus reject the hypothesis that strong State capacity was a sine qua non condition for tackling the negative effects of the COVID-19 multi-crises during the first phase of the pandemic. In the end, the global emergency has emphasized the need to rethink the research on State capacity as the previous theoretical constructions have been unable to explain the significative international differences in terms of the public performances in minimizing the negative effects of the pandemic.

 Fuente: Forum for Development Studies, 49(2): 129-154

 Publisher: Routledge

 Publication date: 01/05/2022

 No. of pages: 26

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1080/08039410.2022.2071334

 ISSN: 0803-9410,1891-1765