From the Executive Summary: "Despite the narratives of authoritarian states, the concerns of journalists and public intellectuals in democracies, and the results of some early studies, this paper shows that democracies fare no worse than authoritarian regimes in combating the Covid-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic. Democracy is not associated with higher Covid-19 death rates, as many have feared. Democracy is also not associated with lower vaccination rates. Moreover, among democratic countries, high levels of particular democratic components seem to help prevent deaths and boost vaccination rates. Among democracies, greater levels of fundamental rights and impartial administration coincide with lower Covid-19 death rates, and a more competitive process for becoming the leader of a country is associated with a higher vaccination rate. These conclusions are based on statistical analyses of democracy components, as measured by International IDEA's Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices, and the reported Covid-19 death rates and Covid-19 vaccination rates in all countries of the world with a population of at least one million people. The results of this paper can be used to challenge the narrative that authoritarian regimes are better at combating Covid-19. Moreover, the findings in this paper can be used to encourage leaders and activists in countries with hybrid and backsliding regimes to strengthen democracy, particularly fundamental rights, impartial administration, and competition for executive office, because these efforts can provide public health benefits."
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance