Politics, Science, and Reason: What COVID-19 Reveals About Public Policy Across Nations

Are there real-world examples of public policy that reject rational thinking? Look at COVID-19

Many thought the world reached Peak Denial when the UK politician Michael Gove, in the heat of the 2016 Brexit campaign, said “Britain has had enough of experts”. Those steeped in rational thinking find such attitudes inexplicable, and have to explain them away as, well, politics.

Lessons for Public Policy

The goal of this report is not to apportion blame or triumph across nations. Indeed, COVID-19 has continued to change in character and impact, and all responses to it have constantly had to evolve. Instead, the goal of this article has been to describe the facts on how different national systems have responded to the pandemic, against a background of lessons and warnings from science. What are the conclusions that have emerged from this?



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Danny Quah

Danny Quah


Danny Quah is Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS.