Governmental responses to COVID-19 and its economic impact: a brief Euro-Asian comparison

The outbreak of COVID-19 is the most global crisis with the heaviest and most immediate impact on people’s lives around the world since World War II. Its societal and economic impact is hard to quantify, but in all aspects enormous. Therefore, the COVID-19 crisis has dominated the political agenda of governments around the globe for the past months. Especially the crisis’ immediate character differentiates it from the ongoing climate crisis. This circumstance calls for swift analyses of governmental action with a global perspective.

Our paper contributes to this need by providing a brief, timely, and Euro-Asian comparative perspective on COVID-19 with a focus on the interface of government and economy: We analyzed selected Asian and European countries along the degree of strictness when shutting down economic and social life: China, which has reacted with an unprecedented lockdown, especially in Wuhan, where the corona-virus was first detected; South Korea, which has been strict in detecting and isolating confirmed cases but which has refrained from locking down the economy; France, which has highly limited social and economic freedom; and finally Germany, which has taken a more liberal approach of locking down the economy.

Speedy governmental reaction not only saves lives but can also be a savior of an extreme economic downturn. However, the level of strictness in government responses to Corona is an ambiguous variable: On the one hand, a healthy economy is doubtlessly dependent on healthy people; hence, strict measures can safeguard the economy. On the other hand, extreme strictness can strangulate the economy and contribute to a severe economic downturn, recession, or even long-term depression. Finding the right balance is key and a demanding task that benefits from comparisons such as the one provided by this paper.

AUSTERMANN F., SHEN W., SLIM A. [2020], « Governmental responses to COVID-19 and its economic impact: a brief Euro-Asian comparison », Asia Europe Journal, Springer, May, pp. 211-216.

fichier pdf Austermann2020_Article_GovernmentalResponsesToCOVID-1 – HAL

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