Inter-country variations in COVID-19 incidence from a social science perspective




COVID-19, OECD, Outbreak, Morbidity, Mortality


COVID-19 has spread unevenly among countries. Beyond its pathogenicity and its contagious nature, it is of the utmost importance to explore the epidemiological determinants of its health outcomes. I focus on the thirty-six OECD member states and examine country-level characteristics of the timing of the coronavirus outbreak and its morbidity and case-fatality rates. I harvested data on dependent variables from daily WHO reports and information on the independent variables from official publications of major world organizations. I clustered the latter information under three rubrics—socio-demographic, risk behaviours, and economic and public health—and subjected the totality of the data to OLS regressions. Independent variables successfully explain much of the overall variance among OECD countries in morbidity (R2=50.0%) and mortality (R2=41.5%). Immigration stock enhanced the outbreak of the pandemic in host countries; it did not, however, had a significant effect neither on morbidity nor on mortality rates. Country economic status and healthcare services are significant in moderating the health outcomes of coronavirus infection. Nevertheless, the paramount determinants for restraining contagion and mortality are governmental measures. I speculate that this may reshape the equilibrium between push and pull factors hence, the international migration system in near future.


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Author Biography

Uzi Rebhun, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Full Professor




How to Cite

Rebhun, U. (2021). Inter-country variations in COVID-19 incidence from a social science perspective. Migration Letters, 18(4), 413–423.