Policy-making, policy-taking, and policy-shaping: Local government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Chris Stoney, Andy Asquith, Karyn Kipper, Jeff McNeill, John Martin, Alessandro Spano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged nations states across the world. They have implemented lockdown and social distancing and with the development of vaccines have gone to great lengths to build herd immunity for their populations. As place managers, local government has played a variety of roles supporting central government edicts related to social distancing and supporting local businesses impacted by lockdowns. The research reported here comparing the role local government has played in Australia, Canada, Italy, and New Zealand shows that they have at different times and for different issues been policy takers from central government, policy shapers, and policy makers adapting national strategies. Local government plays an important complementary role with central governments in both unitary and federal systems of government. The paper contributes to the literature on multi-level governance, place-based decision-making, and disaster and emergency management by offering a framework for analysing municipal roles in crises management both in their relationship with higher layers of government and in their acting as locally placed organisations. Points for practitioners: Cross-national study: Australia, Canada, Italy, and New Zealand. Examination of local government responses to COVID-19 pandemic as policy makers, takers, or shapers. Comparison of federal and unitary states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-461
Number of pages22
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
Issue number4
Early online date18 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


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