Leading the fight against the pandemic: Does gender really matter?
This paper analyses the relationship between national female leaders and their effectiveness in handling the COVID-crisis. The association is scrutinised more systematically, with the intention of determining whether there is a significant and systematic difference by gender of the national leader in the number of COVID cases and deaths in the first quarter of the pandemic.
Differences in policy responses by male vs. female leaders as plausible explanations for the differences in outcomes are examined. Using a constructed dataset for 194 countries, a variety of socio-demographic variables are used to match nearest neighbours.
- COVID-outcomes are systematically better in countries led by women and, to some extent, this may be explained by the proactive and coordinated policy responses adopted by them.
- Female-led countries have fared better in terms of absolute number of COVID-cases and deaths, with male-led countries having nearly double the number of deaths as female-led ones.
- Women leaders reacted more quickly and decisively in the face of potential fatalities. In almost all cases, they locked down earlier than male leaders in similar circumstances.
- Data and Methodology
This paper was originally published on the SSSRN website.