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Political regime and COVID-19 death rate: efficient, biasing or simply different autocracies?

Political regime and COVID-19 death rate: efficient, biasing or simply different autocracies?

539/2021 Guilhem Cassan Milan Van Steenvoort
working papers,political economy

539/2021 Guilhem Cassan Milan Van Steenvoort

The difference in COVID-19 death rates across political regimes has caught a lot of attention. The "efficient autocracy" view suggests that autocracies may be more efficient at putting in place policies that contain COVID-19 spread. On the other hand, the "biasing autocracy" view underlines that autocracies may be under- reporting their COVID-19 data. We use fixed-effect panel regression methods to discriminate between the two sides of the debate. Our results show that a third view may in fact be prevailing: once pre-determined characteristics of countries are accounted for, COVID-19 death rates equalize across political regimes. The difference in death rate across political regime seems therefore to be primarily due to omitted variable bias

Political Economy