Scope of the Outbreak or Institutional Veto Points: Explaining Varying Government Actions Against the Corona Pandemic

von Aiko Wagner & Sascha Kneip

The corona crisis hit the different European countries differently and government responses were imposed at different speeds. The reasons for these observed divergent trends are not yet clear. Since the goal of government action in response to the corona pandemic – reducing the number of deaths – should be the same in each country, political institutions should be particularly important in explaining the differences in the speed and extent of responses and restrictions. Aiko Wagner (FU Berlin and WZB) and Sascha Kneip (WZB Berlin) test this assumption for its empirical validation. They combine data on the separation of powers and the number of corona-related infections and show that institutional veto points do not explain the differences in the speed and extent of government responses. Instead, they find that the extent of problem pressure in the different countries studied has much more explanatory power.