Multidisciplinary Center for Infectious Diseases (MCID)

Blame deflection during the Covid-19 crisis

Applicant: Dr. Susanne Hadorn (Cluster: Society and Law)

Recipient of MCID Early Career Research Grant for Women (ECRG-W)

KPM Center for Public Management (KPM)

This project will investigate how the Swiss and German governments deflected blame during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic created policy debates and simultaneously, politicians had to choose policies under time pressure and high uncertainty about the impacts of their policies. This led to situations where governments were blamed for their actions and decisions. In such contexts, the targeted politicians can choose different strategies to defend themselves. The project will examine which blame avoidance strategies were used in the two countries, to whom the governments shifted blame during the pandemic and with what effect. The project thus provides insights on how to prevent government inaction and blame avoidance that arguably leads to political deadlock instead of pro-active problem solving.