By Chan-Yuan Wong and Kyoung M. Shin. It is indisputable that Taiwan’s restrictive emergency policies have successfully brought the coronavirus under control and gave Taiwan the enviable status of a “virus-free haven.” Although one may argue that outcome should be used to measure “success” and “failure,” it is not the only criterion to evaluate public policies. Even from a purely economic efficiency point of view, how the outcome is achieved is equally important—that is, the measure of the associated costs and resource inputs. To effectively control the spread of the coronavirus, Taiwan has essentially taken a page out of its old “developmental state” playbook.
Written by Chuan-Kai Lee and Mei-Chih Hu. As we know, the Coronavirus pandemic poses a dire threat to various states around the globe. Thus, we perceive the competence (or lack thereof) of different governments, the strengthening of the state, the rise of nationalism, and in Taiwan, the return of technocrats. These technocrats differed from their predecessors in the developmental-state era, as they already had their missions well in advance rather than playing catch-up. They were to contain the virus — keep a record of zero local infection as long as possible.