Comparing crisis management: Coping with Covid-19

The socio‐economic divisions and tensions in today’s society seem to run deep and even the most stable market economies are struggling to find effective solutions. What are the driving forces of these developments? Can the social market economy survive? What are the proposed solutions? This course provides future change-makers in public and private sectors with a comprehensive overview on the structures and actors that shape markets. In the first part of the course, students will have the opportunity to debate key original texts from different disciplines (political science, sociology, economics and history) central to the study of markets and their institutional set‐up. This includes classics (e.g., Smith, Marx), the liberal paradigm (e.g., Hayek, Friedman), economic sociology (e.g., Polanyi, Fligstein), but also new institutional economics and historical approaches. These contending perspectives will enable students to contextualise more recent and alternative approaches. Thus, the second part of the course focuses on current propositions, how to solve rising problems related to market governance, globalisation and neoliberalism. In this context, we will, for example, look at supranational market governance, solidarity economy and commons‐based approaches, degrowth and socio‐ecological transformation, gender perspectives in political economy and postcolonial theories regarding the Global South. This course qualifies students to extrapolate insights from classic authors and newer approaches to reflect upon the governance of markets in challenging times.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is keeping its grip on all aspects of life, we observe considerable variation between countries in their crisis management capacities and policy responses. Though a lot of governments implemented a lock-down, the scope, intensity, enforcement style and timescale vary considerably and even more so do the policies responding to the social and economic implications of the pandemic. In this course, we want to jointly observe, analyse and compare crisis management responses as the Covid-19 pandemic is unfolding. We want to understand what good and bad crisis management entails, which factors lead to good and bad crisis management and what to learn from it. This course aims to co-produce knowledge between students and professors, working in a (research) project-like manner while the crisis is ongoing. Comparing how countries have responded to the emerging crisis allows us to gain unique insights into what good policy and administration entail when the stakes are high. The variation in crisis management and policy responses represents an unusual testing ground for how to do good policy and administrative analysis. Three questions are central: How have governments developed and implemented policies under severe time pressure and even higher uncertainty? How have they dealt with the social and economic fallout? What are the implications for democracy and globalisation?