Work package 3: Political decisions for the containment of the Corona pandemic

Research question/focus

Work package 3 enables the systematic collection, elaboration and analysis of policy decisions taken in different countries related to the Covid-19 pandemic and aimed at its mitigation. Thus, the work package creates the data basis for all other work packages.


Work package 3 "Political decisions for the containment of the Corona pandemic" provides the overall project with a common (data) basis. The unifying assumption of all following work packages is that the corona virus affects all countries equally, but that political decisions significantly influence the course and consequences of the pandemic.

The possibilities of political influence are operationalized. For example, the declaration of a disaster situation, lockdown measures, curfews or the introduction of mandatory masking can be considered as fundamental decisions. First approaches of such data collection already exist, e.g. by the University of Oxford or CoronaNet, but in some cases the level of detail (compulsory masking in which context) and the possibility for actual quantitative analysis are missing.

The work package "Policy Decisions" has therefore defined variables to be collected in a first step and then ensured data quality by either using and extending existing sources or partially collecting data itself. The use of existing sources implies a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of these data and processing of suitable data to create a comprehensive database that can be used for quantitative analyses. This data collection is carried out in advance of all technical work packages (4-8).

In addition to data of a more quantitative nature, official speeches of government or state leaders are additionally examined and coded to highlight a focus of the respective decision makers. This coding follows a detailed, self-developed codebook, which additionally allows a parallelism to the coded measures. 


1. Preparation: In the first step, the variables of political decisions to be collected are defined in the cooperation of all work packages.

2. Collection of decisions and texts: Next, the relevant data are collected. Here, the more quantifiable decisions are considered first, followed by the speeches to the nation that are to be coded. It is crucial that these are official documents and not, for example, media contributions.

3. Coding and database maintenance: the previously collected data and texts are made usable. The data sets are cleaned and completed, brought to the same unit of investigation and merged. This results in two analyzable data sets, one with a panel data structure and one measure-based. The texts of the speeches are coded according to a scheme to be defined beforehand and a database of all political decisions is generated that can be used by all.

Important steps:

  • Definition of the variables of political decisions
  • Definition of the codebook
  • Data collection
  • Processing of the database in close cooperation with the work package 2 "Research data management".
  • First descriptive analyses of the political decisions taken

Fraunhofer ISI

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) is an institution of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with a focus on the interdisciplinary analysis of conditions for the emergence of innovations and their effects. Knowledge from the fields of technology, social science and economics comes together in seven different Competence Centers. The research goal of Fraunhofer ISI is to consider challenges of current and future generations at the present time in order to be able to present innovative solutions on a national as well as international level for a sustainable future. For this purpose, scientists from different disciplines work today on tomorrow's solutions according to the highest scientific standards.


As described, work package 3 "Policy decisions" provides the data basis and the results on which all other work packages build. Therefore, Fraunhofer ISI works in close cooperation with all participating institutes. Especially to ensure data quality, great importance is attached to intensive communication with work package 2 "Research data management".

Expected results

Work package 3 enables the systematic review of policy decisions with the aim of containing the Covid-19 pandemic and thus forms the data basis for all other work packages. It provides a comprehensive, equivalent, and detailed collection of policy decisions in the countries analyzed. Existing data collections do not consider variables in the appropriate depth or comparability. Further, more qualitative elements of coding political speeches or statements allow for capturing political focus and comparing it across countries.

work package 1

Project management

work package 2

Research data management

work package 4

Economy and Society

work package 5

International innovation networks

work package 6

Civil protection and security

work package 7

Application-oriented research

work package 8

Recommendations for action