MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative

Why Similar Policies Resulted in Different COVID-19 Outcomes

HSI Professor Hazhir Rahmandad co-authored a paper “Why Similar Policies Resulted in Different COVID-19 Outcomes: How Responsiveness and Culture Influenced Mortality Rates,” which was published in Health Affairs in December this year. The researchers found that the difference “is not about variations in wealth and GDP, nor about healthcare capacity, or age differences. And more importantly, in the long run, it is not even about policy response."

Rather the difference is what they call “responsiveness” to the pandemic. The easiest way to think about a community’s or country’s level of responsiveness is to think of it “like the threshold at which the communities are convinced to take the pandemic seriously and respond; the threshold at which they say ‘enough is enough,’ we should curb it.” 

The article is available on the Health Affairs website. You can also view a three-minute summary given by one of the co-authors, or listen to a 25 minute podcast produced by Health Affairs.