Efficacy in COVID-19 management: the case of ASEAN

Yoong Hon Lee*, Sheau Yen Ruth Lim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating to countries around the world. Much of the problem has been the need to contain the infection via harsh social movement restrictions while having the necessary policies to cushion the ensuing economic blows that follow them. This study aims to look at The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and assess the good practices that are associated with those which performed relatively better than the rest.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors use data envelopment analysis (DEA) to identify the most efficient country among the ASEAN nations in dealing with the pandemic and observe their practices with regard to the movement control metrics.

Findings: One particular country stood out in this regard, which is Singapore. The authors observed that its social restrictions were less stringent than many others yet its management of the pandemic has been highly successful despite having had the highest number of cases at one stage in 2020. This suggests massive lockdowns may not necessarily be the solution. However, the nation did place a high priority in having a high-income support, effective public campaigning and very restrictive policy on public events. In terms of originality and value, this paper uses DEA in identifying the best practice among ASEAN countries in dealing with the pandemic, both from an economic and medical perspectives.

Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no other papers have used this approach. The authors hope the findings can be of some value to policymakers in designing better (public) policies when it comes to dealing with pandemics in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-626
Number of pages14
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Issue number4
Early online date2 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2022


  • COVID-19
  • DEA
  • Public policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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