COVID-19 Regulations, Political Institutions, and the Environment

Per G. Fredriksson, Aatishya Mohanty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with short-term air quality improvements in many countries around the world. We study whether the degree of democracy and political institutions played a role. We provide novel empirical evidence from 119 countries. A given stringency of COVID-19 containment and closure policies had a stronger effect on air quality in more democratic countries, and in countries with majoritarian rather than proportional electoral rules. Our estimates suggest that the improvement in air quality was around 57% greater in majoritarian systems than in proportional systems. Confidence in government, trust in politicians, and social capital also affected outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-353
Number of pages31
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Early online date25 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors thank the three insightful referees, James Ang, Cooper Day, Jose Fernandez and Cheng Keat Tang for useful comments and suggestions, the co-editor Grischa Perino for helpful guidance and suggestions, and Catherine Lewis for research assistance. The usual disclaimers apply


  • COVID-19
  • Infectious disease
  • Democracy
  • Electoral system
  • Institutions
  • Confidence in government
  • Trust
  • Social capital
  • Rally effect


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