1st Edition

Democracy, State Capacity and the Governance of COVID-19 in Asia-Oceania

Edited By Aurel Croissant, Olli Hellmann Copyright 2023
    294 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the public health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Asia-Oceania region and their implications for democratic backsliding in the period January 2020 to mid-2021.

    The contributions discuss three key questions: How did political institutions in Asia-Oceania create incentives for effective public health responses to the COVID-19 outbreak? How did state capacities enhance governments’ ability to implement public health responses? How have governance responses affected the democratic quality of political institutions and processes? Together, the analyses reveal the extent to which institutions prompted an effective public health response and highlights that a high-capacity state was not a necessary condition for containing the spread of COVID-19 during the early phase of the pandemic. By combining quantitative and qualitative analyses, the volume also shows that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the quality of democratic institutions has been uneven across Asia-Oceania.

    Guided by a comprehensive theoretical framework, this will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students of political science, policy studies, public health and Asian studies.

    1. Introduction: Democracy and State Capacity during Times of Crisis

    Aurel Croissant & Olli Hellmann

    2. Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic: An aggregate-level comparative analysis

    Jale Tosun

    3. COVID-19 and Democracy: Creeping Autocratization?

    Aurel Croissant & Lars Pelke

    4. Closing the borders to COVID-19: Democracy, politics and resilience in Australia and New Zealand

    Jennifer Curtin & Dominic O’Sullivan

    5. Containing COVID-19 in South Korea and Taiwan: State capacity and geopolitics

    Yin-wah Chu

    6. Navigating the Early Impacts of COVID-19: South Pacific Viewpoints from Fiji and Samoa

    Audrey Aumua, Saunimaa Ma Fulu-Aiolupotea, Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni & Tim Fadgen

    7. The Pandemic and Competitive Authoritarianism in India

    Rahul Mukherji and Seyed Hossein Zarhani

    8. Economy First: Indonesia’s Calculated Underutilization of State Capacities and Democratic Resources in the Early Phase of COVID-19

    Marcus Mietzner

    9. COVID-19 in the Philippines and Cambodia: Rising Autocracy and Weak State Capacity

    Erik Martinez Kuhonta & Tynarath Huon

    10. Singapore and Hong Kong: The Effect of Trust in High-capacity Hybrid Regimes

    Mathew Y.H. Wong & Adrian M.H. Lam

    11. Proactive Responsiveness and Institutionalization in Vietnam’s Offensive Against COVID-19

    Nhu Truong

    12. China’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Navigating Internal and External Challenges

    Heike Holbig

    13. Conclusion

    Aurel Croissant & Olli Hellmann


    Aurel Croissant is Professor of Political Science at Heidelberg University, Germany. His research focusses on issues of democratization, authoritarianism, civil-military relations and Asian politics.

    Olli Hellmann is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand. He has previously published on democratization and autocratic regime resilience in East Asia, including in Party Politics and Democratization.