Garzarelli, Keeton and Sitoe, ‘Rights redistribution and COVID-19 lockdown policy’

What is the tenet upon which the public policy of lockdown by fiat experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic is based on? The work approaches this question about the rationale of the mandatory shelter-in-place policy as an interpersonal exchange of rights, but where the exchange occurs coercively instead of voluntarily. It compares, in positive political economy terms, the normative principles of utilitarianism and Rawlsianism, and shows that lockdown by fiat is a policy that is closer to a maximin equity criterion rather than to a utilitarian one. The work moreover shows, also with the aid of a thought experiment and with factual applications, that the fiat redistribution of rights to liberty in favor of rights to health—from those least affected to those most affected by COVID-19 – is, in the main, a policy choice that is to be expected under certain constraints.

Giampaolo Garzarelli, Lyndal Keeton and Aldo A Sitoe, Rights redistribution and COVID-19 lockdown policy, European Journal of Law and Economics volume 54, pages 5-36 (2022). Published 5 April.

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