Alfano V, Ercolano S, Pinto M
J Policy Model - (-) - [2022-01-11; online 2022-01-11]
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed countries to adopt various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Due to the features of the pandemic, which spread over time and space, governments could decide whether or not to follow policy choices made by leaders of countries affected by the virus before them. In this study, we aim to empirically model the adoption of NPIs during the first wave of COVID-19 in the 14 European countries with more than 10 million inhabitants, in order to detect whether a policy diffusion mechanism occurred. By means of a multivariate approach based on Principal Component Analysis and Cluster Analysis, we manage to derive three clusters representing different behaviour models to which the different European countries belong in the different periods of the first wave: pre-pandemic, summer relaxation and deep-lockdown scenarios. These results bring a two-fold contribution: on the one hand, they may help us to understand differences and similarities among European countries during the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak and guide future quantitative or qualitative studies; on the other, our findings suggest that with minor exceptions (such as Sweden and Poland), different countries adopted very similar policy strategies, which are likely to be due more to the unfolding of the pandemic than to specific governmental strategies.