Was everything really better before? This certainly isn't true with regard to the time just before the coronavirus, as an analysis of policymaking by Christof Schiller und Thorsten Hellmann shows. Our governance experts studied 41 EU and OECD countries to see how well prepared they were when the pandemic broke out. The findings are alarming: Before the coronavirus crisis, many states had failed to craft convincing responses to the challenges of digital transformation, the scarcity of natural resources, climate change, social inequality and increasing political polarization. The data used for this analysis were drawn from the Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI), which produces yearly assessments regarding the sustainability of political outcomes, the robustness of democratic standards and the quality of governance in developed countries on the basis of three indices, 157 indicators and detailed country reports.
"Countries remain at vastly disparate points along their journey towards sustainable and forward-looking policymaking," said SGI project head and study coauthor Schiller. The backlog of reforms has increased since the economic and financial crisis of 2009, in some cases dramatically. "In the absence of decisive joint countermeasures, the COVID-19 crisis will deepen these disparities further," Schiller warned.