Media & Communications Manager
Sara manages the media and communications activities for the OII, job-sharing with Roz Pacey.
Autocratic states were less effective at responding to the pandemic, despite enforcing stringent policy measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, according to a new study from academics at the University of Oxford, published in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation.
The Oxford researchers analysed mobility trends and government policy responses across over 130 countries from the beginning to the peak of the first lockdown period, from March to May 2020. The study finds that autocracies introduced tougher lockdowns and relied more on contact tracing to control the disease. However, people in democracies were generally more compliant with the lockdown measures implemented by their governments.
Lead author, Dieter Schwarz Associate Professor of AI and Work, Carl-Benedikt Frey, Oxford Internet Institute, and Director of the Future of Work Programme, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford said:
“In our study, we test the idea that democracies function better due to higher levels of social capital and explore this concept in the context of Covid-19 policy compliance. We find that democracies exhibit higher levels of social capital on average, which we also note is associated with greater policy compliance”.
In the paper, the researchers explore the potential underlying mechanisms driving the relationship between democracy and compliance. Their analysis shows that on average, social capital is approximately 30% higher in democratic societies.
“Contrary to the popular perception that autocratic countries have been more effective in coping with the pandemic, the study finds that people in the most consolidated democracies have been more compliant with governments’ policy measures aimed at reducing mobility even without implementing draconian restrictions.
“Our findings suggest that the reason why autocracies have taken more radical measures to reduce the movement of people relative to democracies is precisely that they have been less successful in implementing them. Further research is needed in this area to better understand these disparities and help inform future policymaking in response to any new pandemics”.
Authors; Dr Chinchih Chen, Postdoctoral Researcher, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford; Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Carl-Benedikt Frey, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford and Giorgio President, Postdoctoral Research Officer, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.
For more information please contact:
Sara Spinks/Rosalind Pacey, Media and Communications Manager, Oxford Internet Institute T: 01865 287237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate O’Connor, Media and Communications Manager, Oxford Martin School T: 01786 287365 or email@example.com
About the study
Researchers from the Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, analysed mobility trends and policy restrictions in 132 counties, from March 2020 – May 2020 (double check dates), during the first wave of the pandemic.
About the Oxford Martin School
The Oxford Martin School brings together researchers from across the University of Oxford to seek solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges. Currently 200 academics are involved in 30 pioneering research programmes. The School supports novel and high-risk projects that often do not fit within conventional funding channels, with the belief that breaking boundaries and fostering innovative collaborations can dramatically improve the wellbeing of this and future generations. Underpinning all our research is the need to translate academic excellence into impact – from innovations in science, medicine, and technology, through to providing expert advice and policy recommendations. www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk
About the OII
The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) is a multidisciplinary research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, dedicated to the social science of the Internet. Drawing from many different disciplines, the OII works to understand how individual and collective behaviour online shapes our social, economic and political world. Since its founding in 2001, research from the OII has had a significant impact on policy debate, formulation and implementation around the globe, as well as a secondary impact on people’s wellbeing, safety and understanding. Drawing on many different disciplines, the OII takes a combined approach to tackling society’s big questions, with the aim of positively shaping the development of the digital world for the public good. https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/