Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 1 > Issue 4

Truth or Dare? Detecting Systematic Manipulation of COVID-19 Statistics

Fatih Serkant Adiguzel, Duke University, USA, serkant.adiguzel@duke.edu Asli Cansunar, University of Oxford, UK, asli.cansunar@politics.ox.ac.uk Gozde Corekcioglu, Kadir Has University, Turkey, gozde.corekcioglu@khas.edu.tr
 
Suggested Citation
Fatih Serkant Adiguzel, Asli Cansunar and Gozde Corekcioglu (2020), "Truth or Dare? Detecting Systematic Manipulation of COVID-19 Statistics", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 1: No. 4, pp 543-557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/113.00000021

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2020
© 2020 F. S. Adiguzel, A. Cansunar, and G. Corekcioglu
 
Subjects
Democracy,  Public policy
 
Keywords
COVID-19digit-based testsstatistical malpracticedemocracy
 

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In this article:
Introduction 
Methodology and Data 
Results 
Conclusion 
References 

Abstract

Which countries manipulate COVID-19 statistics? Does the party ideology of local governors affect the probability of data manipulation at subnational levels? How does democratic quality affect statistical transparency during the pandemic? In this article, we apply election fraud detection methods — various digit-based tests that exploit human biases in generating random numbers — to the daily announced official numbers of new and cumulative coronavirus infections. First, we use digit-based tests to identify countries that likely manipulated their pandemic statistics. We then move on to examine the empirical relationship between democratic quality and data transparency. We find suggestive evidence that data manipulation occurred in China, the United States, Russia, and Turkey. Second, we show that non-democracies, as well as countries without free and fair elections, are more likely to release data that display signs of statistical malpractice.

DOI:10.1561/113.00000021

Companion

Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 4 Special issue - The Political Economy of Pandemics, Part I
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.