To read this content please select one of the options below:

Do governance capacity and legitimacy affect citizens' satisfaction with COVID-19 management? Some evidence from South Asia

Ishtiaq Jamil (Department of Government, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway)
Akram Hossain (Department of Government, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway) (Department of Political Science and Sociology, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 8 August 2022

Issue publication date: 11 August 2022




Theoretically, both democ/ratic legitimacy and government capacity are necessary for successful crisis management, like the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors argue that there are important variations for pandemic management in the developed and democratic world. However, are these equally needed in the developing world where democracy and capacity are present in varying degrees and in some countries with a vast deficit? This article analyzes how legitimacy and capacity affect citizens' satisfaction with the pandemic management in South Asia.


The study is based on a survey of 3,423 randomly selected respondents from Facebook users in South Asia. The survey data are presented and discussed along with information derived from secondary sources to put the data in the broader context of the South Asian countries. The authors apply ordinary linear regression for statistical analysis.


The findings suggest that citizens are content with the performance of government institutions in COVID-19 management. They emphasize material well-being, such as relief provisions and financial incentives during the crisis period. They are, however, less concerned about the legitimacy dimension, although democracy in South Asia is flawed with excessive restrictions on public freedom during the pandemic. The contradictory findings may be due to the public orientation towards authoritarian culture and their preference for strongman rule in crisis management.

Practical implications

The governments in South Asia may systematically use army and police forces to manage crises as people are more satisfied with their performance during COVID-19 management.


This is the first time data across South Asia have been collected and analyzed about crisis management.



Funding: The research is funded by the Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) under the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED) program (No: NPL-I3/0020).


Jamil, I. and Hossain, A. (2022), "Do governance capacity and legitimacy affect citizens' satisfaction with COVID-19 management? Some evidence from South Asia", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 676-691.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles