Democracy and COVID-19 outcomes

Gokhan Karabulut, Klaus F. Zimmermann*, Mehmet Huseyin Bilgin, Asli Cansin Doker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


More democratic countries are often expected to fail at providing a fast, strong, and effective response when facing a crisis such as COVID-19. This could result in higher infections and more negative health effects, but hard evidence to prove this claim is missing for the new disease. Studying the association with five different democracy measures, this study shows that while the infection rates of the disease do indeed appear to be higher for more democratic countries so far, their observed case fatality rates are lower. There is also a negative association between case fatality rates and government attempts to censor media. However, such censorship relates positively to the infection rate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109840
Number of pages4
JournalEconomics Letters
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

JEL classifications

  • d72 - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
  • c30 - "Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables: General"
  • p16 - Capitalist Systems: Political Economy
  • i19 - Health: Other


  • Democracy
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Pandemic
  • Lockdown
  • Media censoring
  • LIFE


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