Comparative Politics

The Truth and Myth of the Advantages of Authoritarian Countries to COVID-19

Susumu Annaka Waseda University


The COVID-19 pandemic—the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu—has dramatically changed the world, with a significant number of people still suffering and dying from the disease. Some scholars argue that the pandemic has severely damaged democratic countries, mainly because they cannot intervene in their citizens' lives, as opposed to their authoritarian counterparts. This paper reports using cross-national data for 163 countries that authoritarian countries tend to have lower COVID-19 deaths than their democratic counterparts, but stringent intervention is not necessarily a key determinant. A higher number of tests is a more critical determinant of authoritarian countries' advantage. Testing seems to be a vital tool to reduce deaths. This study uses statistical evidence to demonstrate that authoritarian countries are likely to conduct more tests leading to lower death rates. The result implies that authoritarian states can strengthen citizens' support for their government through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summary of changes from Version 2

Only revise grammatical mistakes and remove misleading phrases.


Thumbnail image of content item


Log in or register with APSA to comment open_in_new
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy open_in_new – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here open_in_new .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy open_in_new and Terms of Service open_in_new apply.