China has been betting on two horses: restarting the economy and preventing the coronavirus from spreading. Political analyst Victor Shih sees how local officials put their bets: they prefer the virus from stopping over a risky restart of production, he says at CNN.
Manufacturers are struggling to resume production because of worker shortages, according to Caijing, while Caixin added that some local governments are reluctant to order companies back to work because they fear mass gatherings will lead to another outbreak.“Because local officials and factories know that they would be punished severely by the government for allowing new infections to spread, they have played it safe by delaying the resumption of [real] economic activities,” said Victor Shih, an associate professor at the University of California at San Diego and the author of “Economic Shocks and Authoritarian Stability.”“The threat of harsh punishment works to enforce self-quarantine, but will lead to risk avoidance behavior in the aftermath,” he said.
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