Susumu AnnakaWaseda University
The COVID-19 pandemic—the worst one since the Spanish flu—has dramatically changed the world, with a great number of people still suffering and dying from the dis-ease. Some scholars argue that the pandemic has severely damaged democratic coun-tries, mainly because these cannot intervene in their citizens’ lives, as opposed to their authoritarian counterparts. Another study challenges this view and suggests that authori-tarian countries manipulate data on COVID-19-related deaths. This paper aims to deter-mine which view is more persuasive using cross-national data. This article uses statisti-cal evidence to reveal that authoritarian countries are likely to manipulate the data. The result implies that, with this successful manipulation, authoritarian states can strengthen citizens’ support for their governments through the COVID-19 pandemic.
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