Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 2 > Issue 1

Why Are Pandemics Ideological?

Tom S. Clark, Department of Political Science, Emory University, USA, , John W. Patty, Departments of Political Science and Quantitative Theory & Methods, Emory University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Tom S. Clark and John W. Patty (2021), "Why Are Pandemics Ideological?", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 2: No. 1, pp 103-141.

Publication Date: 11 Mar 2021
© 2021 T. S. Clark and J. W. Patty
Bureaucracy,  Elections,  Formal modelling,  Political economy


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In this article:
Expertise and Policy-Making 
A Model of Political Support for Policy Expertise 
Equilibrium Analysis 
Governmental Failures and Ideological Alignment 
Discussion and Conclusion 
A Modeling Polarization and Bias 
B Formal Results and Proofs 
C Collegial Policy-Making 
D Uncertainty about the Value of Expertise 
E The Expert's Career and Policy Motivations 
F Incorporating Electoral Accountability 
G Two Unidimensional Spatial Examples 


Effective governmental responses to disasters rely in part on the expertise and skills of government workers. Building and retaining expertise within the government often requires granting unelected civil servants discretion over policy-relevant decisions. We present a simple model of policy-making that captures the trade-offs faced by a policy-maker when considering implementing a policy that may reduce the level of expertise within the government in the shadow of a potential disaster in the future. The model illustrates how policy motivations of an elected government might lead to governmental failure in a response to a future disaster. The model predicts that governmental failures will be more likely when the policy-maker has relatively extreme preferences, and that the failures will tend to occur in agencies where the experts' policy preferences are opposed to those of the policy-maker.



Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 2, Issue 1 Special issue - The Political Economy of Pandemics, Part II
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.