A Comparative Analysis of Government Responses to COVID-19 in the United States, China, and South Korea: Lessons from the Early Stage of the Pandemic*

Haeil Jung, Ki Woong Cho, Kaifeng Yang, Sun Young Kim, Yihong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

COVID-19 has spread quickly worldwide, presenting unprecedented challenges to countries all over the globe. To understand how different countries have responded to COVID-19 during the early stage of the outbreak, we develop a comprehensive research framework drawing on the literature on wicked problems. Specifically, we comparatively investigate the government responses of the United States, China, and South Korea and examine why and how these countries have adopted and implemented various strategies—authoritative, collaborative, and competitive—depending on their policy environment. Although scholars have argued that collaborative strategies are the preferred approach to dealing with wicked problems, it is found that the most applicable, implementable, and effective strategies vary according to the country's cultural, economic, and political contexts. In addition, the urgency and timing of the crisis may affect the choice of appropriate strategies. Our findings can provide lessons for public administration and policy to cope with other wicked problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-58
Number of pages30
JournalKorea Observer
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* Haeil Jung and Kaif eng Yang note that this research was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A3A2924956). Ki Woong Cho notes that this work was supported by International Research Funds f or Humanities and Social Sciences of Jeonbuk National University in 2021. Sun Young Kim notes that this work was supported by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund of 2022. ** First Author. Professor, Korea University; E-mail: hijk@korea.ac.kr *** Corresponding Author. Assistant Prof essor, Jeonbuk National University; Email: kiwoongc@jbnu.ac.kr **** Prof essor, Renmin University of China; Email: yangkaif eng@ruc.edu.cn ***** Assistant Prof essor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies; Email: kimsun@hufs.ac.kr ****** Assistant Prof essor, Renmin University of China: y.liu@ruc.edu.cn

Funding Information:
Haeil Jung and Kaifeng Yang note that this research was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A3A2924956). Ki Woong Cho notes that this work was supported by International Research Funds for Humanities and Social Sciences of Jeonbuk National University in 2021. Sun Young Kim notes that this work was supported by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund of 2022.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by INSTITUTE OF KOREAN STUDIES.

Keywords

  • Comparative Study
  • COVID-19
  • Government Responses
  • Wicked Problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences

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