CInSt Research Seminar "Policy Responses to COVID-19 in Russian Regions": Leonid Polishchuk (Higher School of Economics)
Leonid Polishchuk (Higher School of Economics) has presented his co-authored paper "Policy Responses to COVID-19 in Russian Regions" on the regular CInSt research seminar on June, 17
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian regional administrations received unprecedented autonomy in selecting and implementing their policy responses to the pandemic. Uneven risks, exposures and vulnerabilities to COVID across the country created a quasi-experimental environment, in which regional administrations’ policy choices revealed their preferences, priorities and allegiances. Basic normative arguments predict certain association between risks of pandemic and restrictive or supportive measures taken by regional governments, assuming that the latter are protecting social welfare. We use a unique dataset of Russian regional policy responses to test such association, and do not observe it across the full sample of Russian regions. Next, we introduce into analysis independently obtained indexes of regional governance anomalies, which could reflect deficiencies in the agency relation between administrations and population in the regions. We show that such indexes serve as sorting factors in the sensitivity of regional policies to the risks of the pandemic. Once the sample is restricted to regions with less pronounced governance anomalies, the expected association between COVID risks and policy responses clearly transpires.