The Covid-19 policies: A comparative welfare state analysis between Germany and Thailand

Main Article Content

Pakpoom Saengkanokkul


The Covid-19 pandemic effects both people’s health and social welfare. To address these problems, integrated health and social policies are crucial. This article applies
1.) a comparative welfare state framework to analyze the differences of welfare regime leading to different social policy responses to COVID-19, and 2.) an analysis of capacity of different health system, of which leads to different health policy responses to COVID-19.

This article compares different health system and welfare regime of Germany with the Thai system. Germany has a corporatist welfare regime. Various social policies and financial assistance aim to alleviate negative economic impacts of COVID-19. German health system has high capacity based on advance medical knowledge and technology. Furthermore, health system administration, in which many public and private actors participate, is decentralized and limited. Therefore, policy responses to COVID-19 are based on a collaboration between the state and society. Authorities exercise the emergency powers of the Executive in relation to the degree of pandemic. Local administrative bodies were also granted authority to deal with the pandemic. On the contrary, Thailand has a productivist welfare capitalism, subtype developmental-particularist welfare regime. Therefore, social welfare distribution could not meet people’s needs during pandemic. As a result, charity organization were needed to contribute to relief the efforts. Thailand’s heath system capacity were inadequate; thus, the people were forced to responsible for their own health and welfare. Moreover, Thailand’ use of emergency powers was unproportionate with the degree of pandemic.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Saengkanokkul, P. (2021). The Covid-19 policies: A comparative welfare state analysis between Germany and Thailand. Journal of Human Sciences, 22(1), 27-51. Retrieved from
Academic Articles


Altenstetter. (2003). Insights from Health Care in Germany. American Journal of Public Health, 93(1). 38-44.
Apinunmahakul, A. (2014). Religious and Non-religious Giving in Thailand: An Economic Perspective. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, 5(3). 111-118.
Baldwin, R., & Weder di Mauro, B. (eds.) (2020). Economics in the time of COVID-19. London: CEPR Press.
BBC NEWS. (2020). Coronavirus: Germany’s states make face compulsory. Retrieved from
Chaiwat, T. et al. (2020). Set ta sat plut ti kam wa duay sen tang chi wit lae kit cha kam ruam kong krua ruen thai pai tai sa ta na karn COVID-19 [Behavioral Economics on Life Journey and Collective Action of Thai Household under COVID-19 Situation]. Nonthaburi: Health System Research Institute.
Chang, H. (2020). Dr Ha-Joon Chan’s video interview ‘What can the Far East teach the World?’ for the CoroNomics series by The Independent. Retrieved from
Charoenlert, V. (2000). Industrialization and Labor Fragmentation in Thailand. In K. Tang (ed.), Social Development in Asia (pp.99-123). Netherlands: Springer Science+Business Media Dordretch.
Courbage, C. and Rey, B. (2006). Prudence and optimal prevention for health risks. Health Economics, 15. 1323-1327.
Ebbinghaus, B. (2012). Comparing Welfare State Regimes: Are Typologies an Ideal or Realistic Strategy?. Draft Paper presented at European Social Policy Analysis Network, ESPAnet Conference, Edinburgh, UK September 6-8, 2012.
Ebbinghaus, B., & Manow, P. (2001). Comparing Welfare Capitalism: Social policy and political economy in Europe, Japan and USA. London: Routledge.
Ernst, E. (2001). Commentary: The Third Reich- Geman physicians between resistance and participation. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30. 37-42.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Euronews. (2020). Germany’s Merkel comes out top in leader’s approval poll for COVID-19 crisis. Retrieved from
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. (2020). Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in the EU Fundamental Rights Implications in Germany. Author.
Falkus, M. (1995). Thai Industrialization: An Overview. In M. Krongkaew (ed.), Thailand’s Industrialization and it consequences (pp.13-32). UK: MacMillan Press.
Foucault, M. (1974). Histoire de la Médicalisation. Retrieved from;sequence=1
Foucault, M. (2004). Naissance de la Biopolitique: Cours au Collège de France 1978-1979. Edition établie sous la direction de François Ewald et Alessandro Fontana, par Michel Senellart. Paris: Gallimard Seuil.
Freeman, R. (1994). Prevention in Health Policy in the Federal Republic of Germany. Policy and Politics, 22(1). 3-16.
Goodin, R. E. et al. (1999). The Real World of Welfare Capitalism. UK: Cambridge University Press.
Gough, I. (2000). Welfare Regimes in East Asia and Europe. Paper be presented at Towards the new social policy agenda in East Asia Parallel session to the Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics Europe 2000 Paris, 27 June 2000.
Gough, I. (2016) Welfare states and environmental states: a comparative analysis. Environmental Politics, 25(1). 24-47.
Hanvarongchai et al. (2010). Pandemic Influenza preparedness and health system challenges in Asia: results from rapid analyses in 6 Asian countries. BMC Public Health, 10. 322
Holliday, I. (2000). Productivist Welfare Capitalism: Social Policy in East Asia. Political Studies, 48. 706-723.
Hundt, D. and Uttam, J. (2017). Varieties of Capitalism in Asia: Beyond the Developmental State. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
International Labour Organization. (2020). Country policy responses: Germany.
Retrieved from
International Monetary Fund. (2020). Policy responses to COVID-19. Retrieved from
Jetin, B. (2011). Le développement économique de la Thaïlande est-il socialement soutenable. In S. Dovert and J. Ivanoff (eds.), Thaïlande contemporaine (pp. 321-357). Langres: La manufacture.
Jumnianpol, S., & Nuangjamnong, N. (2019). Human Security in Practice in Thailand. In Y. Mine, et al. (eds.). Human Security Norms in East Asia (pp. 227-248). Palgrave Macmillan.
Junvith, P. (2020). Na yo bai su COVID-19 phase mai [Policy réponses to new-emerging phase of COVID-19]. Retrieved from
Lange, P., & Hudson, M. (1991). Typologies of Democratic Systems: Form Political Inputs to Political Economy. In J. W. Howard (ed.). New Directions in Comparative Politics (pp. 82-117). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Lertnitas, C., & Jitsuchon, S. (2020). Kwam pro bang kong pra cha korn pro bang pai tai COVID-19 [Vulnerability of vulnerable populations under COVID-19]. Retrieved from
Mongkolnchaiarunya, J., & Wattanakoon, N. (2013). Social Welfare and Social Work in Thailand. In S. Furuto (ed.), Social Welfare in East Asia and the Pacific (pp. 111-135). NY: Colombia University Press.
Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC). (2020). Thailand’s Social Situation and Outlook of Q1/2020. Retrieved from
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2020). State of health in the EU: Germany Country Health Profile 2019. Author.
Phongpaichit, P. (2006). Karn tor soo kong tun thai karn prab tua lae pol la wat lang wi klit pee 2540 [Struggle of Thai capital: Adaptation and dynamic after 1997 economic crisis]. In P. Phongpaichit (ed.), Karn tor soo kong tun thai 1 karn prab tua lae pol la wat [Struggle of Thai capital vol.I: Adaptation and dynamic after 1997 economic crisis]. Bangkok: Matichon.
Phongpaichit, P., & Baker, C. (2002). Thailand: Economy and Politics. UK: Oxford University Press.
Pierson, C. (2005). ‘Late Industrializers’ and the Development of Welfare Regimes. Acta Politica, 40. 395-418.
Rojanapithayakorn, W. (ed.). (2017). Karn sa ta ra na sook thai 2559-2560 [Thailand Health Profile 2016-2017]. Bangkok: Saengchan.
Sachs, J. (2020). East-West divide underscored in Covid-19 controls. Retrieved from
Saengkanokkul, P. (2019). Karn wi kro kwam leum lam nai ra bob suk ka pab thai chuang wae la B.E. 2493-2539 duay krob set ta sart karn muang [Inequality in Health System in Thailand from 1950 to 1996: The Political Economy Approach]. Journal of Social Sciences Naresuan University, 15(2). 1-37.
Salmon, A. (2020). Why East beat West on Covid-19. Retrieved from
Sattayanulak, A. et al. (2020). Sa rup pol karn sam ruat kon jon mueng nai pa wa wi klit COVID-19 lae kor sa ner tor rat ta ban [Summary of survey research “Urban poor in COVID-19 crisis: a proposal to government]. (Research granted from Thailand Science Research and Innovation)
Spicker, P. (1995). Social Policy: Themes and Approaches. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.
Sringernyuang, L., & Lertmanorat, S. (2009). Pat ta na karn lae kor sa ner tod sa wat tee see karn sa ta ra na sook mool tarn thai [Development and proposal for the 4th decade of primary healthcare in Thailand]. Nonthaburi: Health System Research Institute.
Stolleis, M. (2013). Origins of the German Welfare State: Social Policy in Germany to 1945. Berlin: Springer.
Tangkarnchanapas, T., & Chotewattanakul, P. (2020). Pak eak ka chon kab mor ra sum COVID-19 [Private sector and COVID-19 storm]. Retrieved from
Thai PBS. (2020). Ngob 225 lan bath tee ma had tai kor tam na kak a na mai pai nai bang [Budget allocation of 225 million bahts from Ministry of Interior for surgical-mask fabrication]. Retrieved from
The Atlantic. (2020). The Secret to Germany’s COVID-19 Success: Angela Merkel Is a Scientist. Retrieved from
The World Health Organization (WHO). (2020). WHO announces Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic. Retrieved from
Tinakorn, P. (1995). Industrialization and Welfare: How Poverty and Income Distribution are affected. In M. Krongkaew (ed.). Thailand’s Industrialization and it consequences (pp. 218-234). UK: MacMillan Press.
Winkelmann, J. (2020). Policy responses for Germany. Retrieved from