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Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Local Governments: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

Democracy
Governance
Local Government
Political Leadership
Public Policy
P194
Maria Antónia Almeida
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL
Cláudia S. Costa
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança
Paula Chies Schommer
Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed the way that people live, work, study and perform basic surviving tasks, such as shopping, communicating, using medical facilities or even dying. At the same time institutions, in general, and Local Governments in particular, face the most hard and painful test to their capacity to seek and achieve political, economic and social responses to this health crisis. In several contexts, this is the lowest level of governance and, consequently, the closest to populations, which represents an even greater responsibility. The objective of this panel is to deepen the knowledge about the impacts and actions/responses of Local Governments around the world to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also aim to acknowledge the type of information displayed on municipal websites and social media, and how efficient they were to divulge relevant messages to control the effects of the pandemic and to improve the citizens’ quality of life during these difficult times. Case and/or empirical studies are welcome in order to find out whether these municipal actions have contributed to the reinforcement of local democracy and citizen participation. Examples from different countries will add value to promote a comparative approach on the subject. Our research questions, among others, are: How are Local Governments handling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Which impacts (political, economic, or social) are more challenging? Has this crisis affected Local Democracy? What are the challenges of Local Governments for post-COVID-19 era? What are the new positive challenges for Local Governments? TOPICS OF INTEREST The thematic session seeks submissions that attempt to address the following key issues related with COVID-19 pandemic in local governments, including (but not limited to) the following themes:  Quality of Local Democracy  Accountability and Transparency  Participatory Democracy  Electoral Processes  Local Governance  Local Finances  Public Procurement  Teleworking in Local Governments  Local e-government and/or use of website and social media  Intermunicipal Cooperation  Tourism Public Policy  Tourism Public Management  Local Economy and main activities affected

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