Nearly every country on earth has now reported cases of COVID-19. In fact, the world is approaching the one million mark of reported cases of COVID-19. However, it is important to note that the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic is not evenly distributed. Some countries are harder hit than others, and among the countries with very high caseloads, there is a big variation in how governments are responding. Why is it that some countries are responding better than others?

What Political Science Teaches Us About How Countries Are Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic

A branch of political science called comparative politics, can be a useful tool for understanding why some countries are dealing with the outbreak better than others. This is a field of study that examines how the internal political characteristics of a country explain the way a state behaves.

My guest today, Sofia Fenner is an assistant professor of political science at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and she specializes in comparative politics. Recently, Sofia Fenner wrote an article on an academic blog, Duck of Minerva, that explains how certain characteristics of a state determine how well it will respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes the question of whether or not authoritarian dictatorships are dealing with this crisis better than liberal democracies– a question she addresses very directly in this conversation.

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