Sebhatu, A.Wennberg, K., Arora-Jonsson, S., Stefan & Lindberg, S.I. (2020). Explaining the homogeneous diffusion of COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions across heterogeneous countries. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


We analyze the adoption of nonpharmaceutical interventions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries during the early phase of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Given the complexity associated with pandemic decisions, governments are faced with the dilemma of how to act quickly when their core decision-making processes are based on deliberations balancing political considerations. Our findings show that, in times of severe crisis, governments follow the lead of others and base their decisions on what other countries do. Governments in countries with a stronger democratic structure are slower to react in the face of the pandemic but are more sensitive to the influence of other countries. We provide insights for research on international policy diffusion and research on the political consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.