S-Space Graduate School of Public Administration (행정대학원) Dept. of Public Administration (행정학과) Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) vol.35 no.1-3 (2020)
Coordination, Incentives, and Persuasion: South Koreas Comprehensive Approach to COVID-19 Containment
- Im, Tobin; Jesse W. Campbell
- Issue Date
- Korean Journal of Policy Studies, Vol.35 No.3, pp. 119-139
- A rapid and comprehensive policy response allowed South Korea to contain an aggressive outbreak of COVID-19 without resorting to the harsh lockdown measures necessitated in other countries. However, while the general content of Koreas response is now fairly well-known, what has received less attention is the unique governance context in which the countrys containment strategy was formulated and implemented. This article focuses on 3 administrative elements of Koreas pandemic containment approach. First, the central government effectively coordinated the efforts of sub-national governments to ensure critical resource availability and deliver a response calibrated to the situation of each locale. Second, ongoing inter-sectoral collaboration was used to marshal non-government resources in both the biotech and medical sectors which in turn enabled core features of Koreas policy, including a rapid acceleration of testing. Third, a timely, accessible, and technocratic communications strategy, led by public health experts and leveraging the countrys highly developed information and communications technology systems, facilitated citizen trust and ultimately voluntary compliance with public health directives. Although the Korean approach offers a number of lessons for other countries, by ignoring the specific administrative and social characteristics that are relevant to its implementation, policymakers risk overestimating its inter-contextual portability. By thoroughly contextualizing Koreas virus containment strategy, this article seeks to minimize this risk.