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Responding to the COVID-19 crisis: a principled or pragmatist approach?

Boin, Arjen and Lodge, Martin ORCID: 0000-0002-4273-6118 (2021) Responding to the COVID-19 crisis: a principled or pragmatist approach? Journal of European Public Policy, 28 (8). 1131 - 1152. ISSN 1350-1763

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13501763.2021.1942155


Uncertainties run deep during a crisis. Yet, leaders will have to make critical decisions in the absence of information they would like to have. How do political leaders cope with this challenge? One way to deal with crisis-induced uncertainty is to base all decisions on a core principle or value. This is what we call a principled approach. The pragmatist approach offers an alternative: an experimental, trial-and-error strategy based on quick feedback. In this paper, we consider both approaches in light of the COVID-19 experience in four European countries. We conclude that the pragmatic approach may be superior, in theory, but is hard to effectuate in practice. We discuss implications for the practice of strategic crisis management.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Government
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2021 10:03
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 05:39

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