Anticipation or resilience in times of emergent crisis? COVID-19 responses in the United States, Taiwan, and South Korea




COVID-19 response, crisis management, international and comparative studies, qualitative research, content analysis, public health policy


This research employs Wildavsky’s two strategies—anticipation and resilience—as our conceptual framework to compare COVID-19 policies in the United States, South Korea, and Taiwan. Also, following Handmer and Dovers’ three types of resilience, we develop theory-driven codes and then explain how governmental structures and cultural factors influenced governmental responses. We found that a key response to this pandemic is arguably correlated with how quick and flexible a government can adopt different types of resilient strategies. Our research provides a foundation for governmental emergency response discussions and management strategies to better cope with public health crises in the future.

Author Biographies

Ray Hsienho Chang, PhD

Department of Security and Emergency Services, Embry-Riddle University Worldwide, Daytona Beach, Florida

Wen-Chi Shie, PhD

Department of Public Administration, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

Yun-Hsiang Hsu, PhD

Institute of Law and Government, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Hyungjo Hur, PhD

Department of Public Administration, Dankook University, Yongin-si, South Korea


Dunlop CA, Ongaro E, Baker K: Researching COVID-19: A research agenda for public policy and administration scholars. Public Policy Adm. 2020; 35(4): 365-383. DOI: 10.1177/0952076720939631.

Capano G, Howlett M: The knowns and unknowns of policy instrument analysis: Policy tools and the current research agenda on policy mixes. SAGE Open. 2020; 10(1): 215824401990056. DOI: 10.1177/2158244019900568.

Howlett M, Tosun J: The Routledge Handbook of Policy Styles. Abingdon: Routledge, 2021.

Wildavsky A: Searching for Safety. 4th ed. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1988.

Handmer JW, Dovers SR: A typology of resilience: Rethinking institutions for sustainable development. Ind Environ Crisis Q. 1996; 9(4): 482-511. DOI: 10.1177/108602669600900403.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Trends in number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US reported to CDC, by state/territory. Available at Accessed April 7, 2021.

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine: New COVID-19 cases worldwide. Available at Accessed April 7, 2021.

Taylor DB: A timeline of the coronavirus pandemic. The New York Times, March 17, 2021. Available at Accessed April 5, 2021.

Office of the Governor, State of Florida: 20-139 executive order. Phase 2: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery. 2020. Available at Accessed April 6, 2021.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: COVID-19 travel recommendations by destination. Available at Accessed April 9, 2021.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Guidance for COVID-19. 2021. Available at Accessed March 15, 2021. Government response to coronavirus, COVID-19. 2021. Available at Accessed March 23, 2021.

The White House: Opening up America again. 2020. Available at Accessed February 6, 2021.

The White House: National strategy for the COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness. 2021. Available at Accessed April 5, 2021.

Howard J, Huang A, Li Z, et al.: An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2021; 118(4): e2014564118.

Magleby D, Light P, Nemacheck C: Government by the People, AP* Edition. 25th ed. New York: Pearson Higher Education, 2014.

Bazzi S, Fiszbein M, Gebresilasse M: Rugged individualism’ and collective (in)action during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Public Econ. 2021; 195: 104357. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104357.

World Health Organization: Middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)–Republic of Korea. Disease outbreak news. 2015. Available at Accessed April 14, 2021.

Park SH, Kim YS, Jung Y, et al.: Outbreaks of Middle east respiratory syndrome in two hospitals initiated by a single patient in Daejeon, South Korea. Infect Chemother. 2016; 48(2): 99.

Oh S: South Korea’s success against COVID-19. The Regulatory Review. 2020. Available at Accessed April 10, 2021.

Seo S, Cha J: Local government response to COVID-19 from a governance perspective: Focusing on the case of Busan metropolitan city. Local Soc Politics. 2021; 4(1): 159-192.

Ministry of Health and Welfare: MERS whitepaper: Learning from MERS experiences. 2016. Available at Accessed April 12, 2021.

Korean Law Information Centre: Infectious disease control and prevention act. 2021. Available at Accessed April 10, 2021.

Moon MJ: Fighting COVID-19 with agility, transparency, and participation: Wicked policy problems and new governance challenges. Public Adm Rev. 2020; 80(4): 651-656. DOI: 10.1111/puar.13214.

Huang IYF: Fighting COVID-19 through government initiatives and collaborative governance: The Taiwan experience. Public Adm Rev. 2020; 80(4): 665-670. DOI: 10.1111/puar.13239.

Lin C, Braund WE, Auerbach J, et al.: Policy decisions and use of information technology to fight 2019 novel coronavirus disease, Taiwan. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020; 26(7): 1506-1512. DOI: 10.3201/eid2607.200574.

Taiwan Centers for Disease Control: CECC confirms 8 more imported cases; cases arrive in Taiwan from Oman, the Philippines, Egypt, and Vietnam. 2021. Available at Accessed April 11, 2021.

Chen CM, Jyan HW, Chien SC, et al.: Containing COVID-19 among 627,386 persons in contact with the diamond princess cruise ship passengers who disembarked in Taiwan: Big data analytics. J Med Internet Res. 2020; 22(5): e19540. DOI: 10.2196/19540.

Dynes RR: Community emergency planning: False assumptions and inappropriate analogies. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters. 1994; 12(2): 141-158.

Harrald JR: Agility and discipline: Critical success factors for disaster response. Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci. 2006; 604(604): 256-272.

Neal DM, Phillips BD: Effective emergency management: Reconsidering the bureaucratic approach. Disasters. 1995; 19(4): 327-337. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.1995.tb00353.x.

Neal D, Webb G: Structural barriers to using the National Incident Management System (Chapter 4). In Learning from Catastrophe: Quick Response Research in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina. Boulder, CO: Institute of Behavioural Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2006.

Schneider SK: Human behaviour and governmental activity in disasters: Two sets of norms (Chapter 4). In Dealing with Disaster: Public Management in Crisis Situations. 2nd ed. New York: ME. Sharpe, 2011.

Coetzee C, Niekerk DV, Raju E: Disaster resilience and complex adaptive system theory. Disaster Preven Manag. 2016; 25(2): 196-211. DOI: 10.1108/DPM-07-2015-0153.

Comfort LK: Risk, security, and disaster management. Annu Rev Polit Sci. 2005; 8: 335-356. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.polisci.8.081404.075608.

Comfort LK, Sungu Y, Johnson D, et al.: Complex systems in crisis: Anticipation and resilience in dynamic environments. J Contingen Crisis Manag. 2001; 9(3): 144-158. DOI: 10.1111/1468-5973.00164.

Gao G, Liu W, Liu P, et al.: Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in the environment and animal samples of the Huanan seafood market. Res Square. 2022. DOI: 10.21203/

Pekar JE, Magee A, Parker E, et al.: SARS-CoV-2 emergence very likely resulted from at least two zoonotic events. Zenodo. 2022. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.6291628.

Worobey M, Levy JI, Serrano LMM, et al.: The Huanan market was the epicenter of SARS-CoV-2 emergence. Zenodo. 2022. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.6299600.

Berg B, Lune H: Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Scientists. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education, 2012.

Creswell JW, Poth CN: Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among Five Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2018.

Patton MQ: Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc, 2002.

DeCuir-Gunby JT, Marshall PL, McCulloch AW: Developing and using a codebook for the analysis of interview data: An example from a professional development research project. Field Methods. 2011; 23(2): 136-155. DOI: 10.1177/1525822X10388468.

Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of China (R.O.C): Creating a line of defense at the border and keeping the virus out. 2020. Available at Accessed April 10, 2021.

The Government of the Republic of Korea: Tackling COVID-19. Health, quarantine and economic measures: Korean experience. 2020. Available at Accessed April 13, 2021.

The Government of the Republic of Korea: COVID-19, testing time for resilience: In recovering from COVID-19: Korean experience. 2020. Available at Accessed April 13, 2021.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC activities and initiatives supporting the COVID-19 response and the president’s plan for open America up again. 2020. Available at Accessed April 7, 2021.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Implementation of mitigation strategies for communities with local COVID-19 transmission. 2020. Available at Accessed April 7, 2021.

Comfort LK, Kapucu N, Ko K, et al.: Crisis decision-making on a global scale: Transition from cognition to collective action under threat of COVID-19. Public Admin Rev. 2020; 80(4): 616-622. DOI: 10.1111/puar.13252.

Dobrzyn E: Gov. Ron DeSantis says most of Florida will enter phase 2 of reopening Friday., June 3, 2020. Available at Accessed April 8, 2021.

Ritchie H, Mathieu E, Rodés-Guirao L, et al.: Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). 2020. Available at Accessed May 8, 2022.

Control Yuan: Investigation to child human rights and other relevant legal protection of xiaoming and his family staying in China during the period of COVID 19. 2020. Available at Accessed April 12, 2021.




How to Cite

Chang, PhD, R. H., W.-C. Shie, PhD, Y.-H. Hsu, PhD, and H. Hur, PhD. “Anticipation or Resilience in Times of Emergent Crisis? COVID-19 Responses in the United States, Taiwan, and South Korea”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 21, no. 7, Feb. 2023, pp. 227-39, doi:10.5055/jem.0710.