1. Adeel, Catalano, Catalano, Gibson, et al. (2020), COVID-19 policy response and the rise of the sub-national governments. Canadian Public Policy.


We examine the roles of sub-national and national governments in Canada and the United States vis-à-vis the protective public health response in the onset phase of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This period was characterized in both countries by incomplete information as well as by uncertainty regarding which level of government should be responsible for which policies. The crisis represents an opportunity to study how national and sub-national governments respond to such policy challenges. In this article, we present a unique dataset that catalogues the policy responses of US states and Canadian provinces as well as those of the respective federal governments: the Protective Policy Index (PPI). We then compare the United States and Canada along several dimensions, including the absolute values of sub-national levels of the index relative to the total protections enjoyed by citizens, the relationship between early threat (as measured by the mortality rate near the start of the public health crisis) and the evolution of the PPI, and finally the institutional and legislative origins of the protective health policies. We find that the sub-national contribution to policy is more important for both the United States and Canada than are their national-level policies, and it is unrelated in scope to our early threat measure. We also show that the institutional origin of the policies as evidenced by the COVID-19 response differs greatly between the two countries and has implications for the evolution of federalism in each.

2. Adeel & Zhirnov. (2023), COVID-19 Response in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh: Shared history, Different Processes. In Government Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Between a Rock and a Hard Place (pp. 75-106). Springer.


One of the core questions emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is what it means for governments to be prepared for a major health crisis. Does the preparedness include only access to resources, or does it also include having appropriate formal political mechanisms and political traditions? India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—three South Asian countries and once parts of British India—face similar healthcare and socioeconomic challenges, share histories of health crises, and rely on somewhat similar frameworks for responding to them. Anecdotally, all these countries rely—or until very recently have relied—on versions of the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 as a major public health response document. These similarities in the structural conditions present us with the opportunity to study the role of politics in crisis response. In this chapter, we set out to explore the differences in the policies adopted in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the politics that produced them. We trace the nonmedical interventions at the national and subnational levels in these three countries from the early signs of the pandemic to late 2020 and examine differences and similarities in the trajectories of policymaking and subsequent policy implementation. We scrutinize the role of institutional frameworks in the formulation of this response, identify the key actors in the pandemic response, and the differences in how they interacted. As we show in this chapter, despite the similarities in the structural characteristics and toolkits of the favored policy response instruments, the politics of response to the COVID-19 pandemic significantly diverged across the countries, with different, sometimes unexpected, actors and channels involved in the public health decision-making and with varying political outcomes. We believe that this was partly because they did not inherit a common democratic political tradition of epidemic response from the British Raj and partly due to the differences in the ways their quite similar epidemic response rules fit with their different political systems. In search for a confirmation of this belief, we examine the history of current public health frameworks in these countries and situate them in the context of their political development.

3. Shvetsova, Zhirnov, VanDusky-Allen, Adeel, et al. (2020), “Institutional Origins of Protective COVID-19 Public Health Policy Responses: Informational and Authority Redundancies and Policy Stringency”, Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy.


In this essay, we argue that institutional systems that allow redundancies in information channels and in policy-making are more likely to generate a rapid policy response to crises such as the onset of COVID-19 pandemic than more streamlined systems. Since democracies and decentralized polities feature higher informational and authority redundancies, we theorize improved crisis response in democracies, and in more decentralized democracies.

To assess our theoretical expectations, we construct an original data set of stringency of policy measures that were adopted in response to COVID-19 by governments at different levels in 64~countries between January and May 2020. We find that democracies and liberal democracies responded to COVID-19 stronger and faster. Federalism and decentralization in addition to democratic institutions played a less uniform, but still a positive role. Beyond their other acknowledged merits, democratic institutions have superior capacity to mount a quick policy response to unqualified threats.

4. Shvetsova, VanDusky-Allen, Zhirnov, Adeel, et al. (2021), (2021). Federal Institutions and Strategic Policy Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Political Science,.

This essay examines the policy response of the federal and regional governments in federations to the COVID-19 crisis. We theorize that the COVID-19 policy response in federations is an outcome of strategic interaction among the federal and regional incumbents in the shadow of their varying accountability for health and the repercussions from the disruptive consequences of public health measures. Using the data from the COVID-19 Public Health Protective Policy Index Project, we study how the variables suggested by our theory correlate with the overall stringency of public health measures in federations as well as the contribution of the federal government to the making of these policies. Our results suggest that the public health measures taken in federations are at least as stringent as those in non-federations, and there is a cluster of federations on which a bulk of crisis policy making is carried by subnational governments. We find that the contribution of the federal government is, on average, higher in parliamentary systems; it appears to decline with the proximity of the next election in presidential republics, and to increase with the fragmentation of the legislative party system in parliamentary systems. Our analysis also suggests that when the federal government carries a significant share of responsibility for healthcare provision, it also tends to play a higher role in taking non-medical steps in response to the pandemic.

5. Shvetsova, Zhirnov, Adeel, et al. (2022), Protective Policy Index (PPI) global dataset of origins and stringency of COVID 19 mitigation policies. Nature Scientific Data.


We have developed and made accessible for multidisciplinary audience a unique global dataset of the behavior of political actors during the COVID-19 pandemic as measured by their policy-making efforts to protect their publics. The dataset presents consistently coded cross-national data at subnational and national levels on the daily level of stringency of public health policies by level of government overall and within specific policy categories, and reports branches of government that adopted these policies. The data on these public mandates of protective behaviors is collected from media announcements and government publications. The dataset allows comparisons of governments’ policy efforts and timing across the world and can serve as a source of information on policy determinants of pandemic outcomes–both societal and possibly medical.