China placed 50 million people under quarantine in Hubei Province in January. Since then, many liberal democracies have taken aggressive authoritarian measures of their own to fight the novel coronavirus. By mid-March, almost all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries had implemented some combination of school, university, workplace, and public transportation closures; restrictions on public events; and limits on domestic and international travel. One country, however, stands out as an exception in the West.

Rather than declare a lockdown or a state of emergency, Sweden asked its citizens to practice social distancing on a mostly voluntary basis. Swedish authorities

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  • NILS KARLSON is Professor of Political Science at Linköping University and President and CEO of the Ratio Institute.
  • CHARLOTTA STERN is Professor of Sociology in Work and Organization at Stockholm University and Deputy CEO of the Ratio Institute.
  • DANIEL B. KLEIN is Professor of Economics and JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and Associate Fellow of the Ratio Institute.
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