Singapore, Moscow and Shanghai Implemented Most Effective Policies in the Pandemic
The governments of big cities in the Asian and Pacific regions implemented more effective policies during the COVID pandemic than cities in Europe and America. This is the conclusion of a study prepared by HSE University. Singapore did it better than the others, Moscow took second place, while the Top-5 also includes Shanghai, Seoul and Beijing. The researchers say that the key factor in Moscow’s success factor was how quickly economic activity resumed in the city, which was, among other things, supported by large-scale inflows from the city budget.
HSE University conducted a study ‘Biggest Cities: City Policy Effectiveness during the COVID Pandemic’ and built a complex ranking of city governments’ efficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts analysed the period from January/February 2020 to May 2021. The sample included 19 big cities, with a total population of 230 million people.
To assess economic policy efficiency during the pandemic, they calculated a cumulative index consisting of three sub-indices, which characterized the situations in health care, recovery of the economy and social sphere, and budget system sustainability during the coronacrisis.
Marcel Salikhov, Director of the HSE Institute for Public Administration and Governance, Centre for Economic Expert Analysis
Last September, HSE University already carried out a study of big cities’ economic policy efficiency as a result of the first wave of the coronacrisis. This new study expands and updates the previous one. We increased the number of cities we analysed, from 15 to 19, which helped us to get more representative outcomes and enhance our understanding of the differences in policies implemented by authorities in different cities. We generally maintained our approach to the ranking compilation and calculations, but slightly changed its focus. Health care-related indicators now have the biggest weight in the aggregated ranking (50%), since the damage to citizens’ health, and deaths are the main irretrievable losses related to the pandemic. We also added a section on the situation and priorities in the cities’ budgets.
Major Asian cities demonstrated the best results: Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul and Beijing, which entered the Top-5. The lowest figures in the aggregated ranking belong to New Delhi, Kyiv and Stockholm.
‘National economies of the Asian-Pacific region have generally suffered less losses as compared to Europe and North America. The authorities of these cities were able to organize effective contact-tracing, testing and targeted quarantine restrictions. This helped to control the infection rate and decrease the damage in terms of healthcare. Singapore achieved first place thanks to its huge expenditure in support of the population and businesses,’ Marcel Salikhov said.
Moscow came second in the ranking thanks to its balanced policies and relatively high indicators in all components. The key factor was the quick economic recovery, thanks, among other things, to large-scale support measures from the city budget. Another important factor mentioned by the experts is that as a result of an accumulated surplus, the city managed to considerably increase spending on health care and social aid and has no plans to cut these in 2021.
Overall, the policy of the Moscow government helped keep economic damage at a relatively low level while maintaining control over the pandemic’s progress.