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Supporting resilient social contracts in times of crisis: Emerging lessons from Covid-19

- Associate Erin McCandless and Research Assistant: Kennedy Manduna

Covid-19 has brought crisis to the doorstep of every country in the world.

It has spotlighted political incoherence and failed policy visions, deep vulnerabilities of systems and institutions across sectors, and polarised state and societal relations.

This is occurring in underdeveloped and developed countries alike. At the same time, there is growing awareness that such crises also create opportunities to refashion the rules of the game in transformative ways.

This paper unpacks the question of how Covid-19 and the crisis-driven responses to address the pandemic can contribute to wider national goals relating to forging or strengthening national social contracts – that tie bold new policy visions to robust and resilient systems and institutional arrangements, that transform harmful structural legacies and strengthen social contracts – that can adapt, evolve and sustain in the face of crisis, and that hold promise for ever-greater levels of wellbeing for all in society.

To investigate this topic, the paper fi rst introduces the discussion of building back better from crisis, and how social contract framing can support these aims. Two sets of cases and evidence are then considered: what drives resilient social contracts on the one hand, and what drives successful Covid-19 responses on the other. A synthesis analysis of how the two can be pursued simultaneously is then put forth.

Read the full paper here: Supporting Resilient Social Contracts in Times of Crisis