COVID-19 amongst western democracies: A welfare state analysis
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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more than 282 million cases and almost 5.5 million deaths (WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard, 2022). Its impact, however, has not been uniform. This analysis examines differences in COVID-19 cases and mortality rates amongst different welfare states within the first three waves of the pandemic using repeated measures Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA). Liberal states fared much better on the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and excess deaths than the Conservative/Corporatist welfare democracies. Social Democratic countries, in turn, did not fare any better than their Conservative/Corporatist counterparts once potential confounding economic and political variables were accounted for: countries’ economic status, healthcare spending, availability of medical personnel, hospital beds, pandemic-related income support and debt relief, electoral events, and left-power mobilization. The pandemic-related welfare responses after the first wave were similar across all three types of western democracies, but the differences in pandemic outcomes remained. The somewhat better outlook of the Liberal states could be attributed to the so-called social democratization of the Anglo-American democracies, but also to the fact that neoliberalism could have flattened the previous differences between the welfare states typologies and could have brought states closer to each other, ideologically speaking, in terms of welfare provision.
Published Version: Bejan, R. & Nikolova, K. (2022). COVID-19 amongst comparable countries: A welfare state approach. Social Theory and Health, 20, 123-151.