Is the pandemic management response related to official populism? Lessons learned from COVID-19 so far

Proceedings of ‏The 2nd World Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2021


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Is the pandemic management response related to official populism? Lessons learned from COVID-19 so far

Alejandro O. Doria Gil1 and Richard J. Gil Herrera



The COVID-19 pandemic has served the authoritarian governments and politicians that have proliferated in recent years. Although several of them initially did not believe in its seriousness, now it serves to curtail democratic freedoms, give more power to the military, close countries border to migration, and exalt nationalism interest instead of cooperation between countries. On the other hand, the political pluralism, democratic culture, and civil liberties of each country serve as a counterweight to the unilateral decisions of politicians or power groups on the handling of the pandemic. The purpose of this research is to show that the official government response of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, in some countries, has been deviated from health pandemic expert’s advice to elected politicians. It is intended to show that in these cases the logic of political survival and the short-term vision, brought a poorer management to the response of the pandemic.  Using databases of the COVID-19 pandemic behaviours, a statistical analysis has been performed against relevant variables of governance available in most OECD countries. As main results, some relationships with relevant significance have been found among information about the pandemic metrics (deaths per million) and other variables from databases such as the populism index of some countries’ current leaders (The Global Populism Database) as well as the civil rights data. The information suggests that there is a relationship between the style of political leadership, specifically between populism and the results in the management of the pandemic, undoubtedly an issue that remains open and unanswered.

Keywords: Pandemic response, Populism, Governance, COVID-19, Civil rights.