Whether informatization has improved the efficiency of public policies: an empirical analysis based on the quasi-natural experiment of Covid-19

LIU Cheng1 ZHONG Chunping1 ZHENG Guonan2

(1.National Academy of Economic Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China 100028)
(2.Institute of Spatial Planning & Regional Economy, National Development and Reform Commission , Beijing, China 100038)

【Abstract】As a public health emergency, Covid-19 has a major and far-reaching impact on China and the world, testing the public policies and governance capacities of each country. The medical research and vaccine development cycle of Covid-19 is relatively long. Therefore, timely and effective identification and separation of Covid-19 cases through information technology has become a key task for epidemic prevention and control. The informatization of government affairs (that is, e-government) has always been an important tool for the Chinese government to improve its governance capacity, which has laid a solid foundation for the response to the epidemic. Through the government information system, cases and close contacts can be detected, tracked and isolated in a timely manner, and transmission routes can be blocked, which provides strong support for the control of the disorderly spread of the epidemic and the timely treatment of patients. Meanwhile, the implementation effect of e-government is also affected by social credit. Although local governments have set up elaborate government information systems based on big data, it is still difficult to accurately cover everyone. Therefore, the control of people can only be based on abstract information, but the accuracy of information and the execution of policies all depend on people’s credit level. Based on this quasi-natural experiment, the e-government level of 286 cities on pandemic prevention and control was tested. In addition, the fulfillment rate of Ctrip’s room reservation in December 2019 was used to represent the social credit level of each city, and the interaction effect of social credit on e-government was tested. The findings are as follows. (1) In general, e-government can improve the public policy efficiency of pandemic prevention and control. For every 0.1 increase in the e-government level, the number of confirmed cases will be reduced by 65.6, and the number of deaths per 10,000 people will be reduced by 0.008. (2) The role of e-government in pandemic prevention and control depends on the local social credit level to a certain extent. (3) The registration of population information at the community level plays a prominent role during the control of pandemic. Using the number of post offices in each city and the revenue from telecommunication services as the instrumental variables of e-government, using the digital index compiled by Tencent as a proxy variable, and controlling the personal characteristics of the Party secretary, the number of employees in the public sector and city level, the basic conclusion remains stable. The findings provide some policy implications to strengthen governance and improve the efficiency of regular epidemic prevention and control.

【Keywords】 COVID-19; e-government; public policies; social credit; community;


Download this article

This Article


CN: 31-1012/F

Vol 46, No. 09, Pages 4-18

September 2020


Article Outline