Oxford University Launches COVID-19 Government Response Tracker

Professor Louise Richardson. Vice-Chancellor. University of Oxford
Professor Louise Richardson. Vice-Chancellor. University of Oxford

Oxford University has launched an online tool for tracking and comparing the policy responses of governments around the world to tackle the Coronavirus outbreak.

Developed by Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, the Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker is available online and currently contains data from 73 countries, including China, South Korea, Italy, UK, Canada and the US.

This new tracker is designed to systematically record government responses worldwide and aggregate the scores into a common ‘Stringency Index’ which the institution hopes will help researchers, policymakers and citizens understand whether increasingly strict measures affect the rate of infection, and identify what causes governments to implement stricter or less strict measures.

Thomas Hale, Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and lead for this project, said: “Our index cannot, of course, tell the full story, but we believe the data we have collected can help decision-makers and public health professionals examine the robustness of government responses and provide the first step into understanding exactly what measures have been effective in certain contexts, and why.”

The coronavirus outbreak has forced governments to put in place policies to contain the spread of the disease among their population. The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker collects publicly available information on 11 indicators of government response including school closures, public events cancellations and public information campaigns as well as fiscal and monetary measures and emergency investment in healthcare.

Government responses vary significantly from one country to another, and like any policy interventions, their effect is highly contingent on local political and social context. The COVID-19 Government Response Stringency Index, like all aggregate indices which combine different indicators into a general index, does not aim to measure the appropriateness or effectiveness of a country’s response, but rather at offering a way for countries to compare responses and learn from one another.

The data is collected from publicly available information by a cross-disciplinary Oxford University team of academics and students – including many of our Master of Public Policy students – from every part of the world.

For more information about the tracker, please go to: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-03-25-oxford-university-launches-world-s-first-covid-19-government-response-tracker.