Citizen Assessments of Government Actions in the COVID-19 Outbreak in China

Hao Zha, Youlang Zhang, Jing Zhao, Xufeng Zhu


This study investigates citizen assessments of government actions in the COVID-19 outbreak in China.Empirical analyses based on a large-scale online survey indicate that the Chinese public expects the government to improve its support for the frontline medical staff, management of public stress and anxiety, and disclosure of government information. Specifically, indirect exposure to COVID-19 through second-hand information is negatively associated with citizen assessments of government actions; by contrast, the first-hand frontline experience with the epidemic is positively associated with citizen assessments of government actions. Findings suggest that citizens with first-hand experience might be more able to judge government actions under the actual constraints of resources and opportunities and are less likely to overemphasize the costs or risks associated with government actions than others without frontline experience. Our work suggests that governments should effectively communicate vivid information regarding government actions to the public during public health emergencies, as more informed citizens might be more supportive of governments with limited resources and, probably, more actively collaborate with governments.


Government Actions;COVID-19;citizen assessments

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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.