During 2020, Taiwan's facemask policy formed a critical part of its relatively successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also served to showcase capacities for coordinated action by state and business actors. This article demonstrates that Taiwan's ability to rapidly increase facemask production called for the government and key industry players to overcome a series of cooperation challenges. The authors show that the effective industry response required concerted action in three domains: the state sector, business–government cooperation, and cooperation among private firms. This article makes two contributions. First, it differentiates the dynamics attached to coordination, commitment and collective action challenges that actors in public and private sectors needed to overcome in order to deliver on the policy. Second, it contributes to the literature by endorsing the view that business–government cooperation and private sector coordination are complementary and interdependent. The findings presented here further illustrate the evolution of Taiwan's state institutions in their capacity to take on new tasks and modes of interaction with private sector actors.


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Cite as

Siedlok, F., Hamilton-Hart, N. & Shen, H. 2022, 'Taiwan's COVID-19 Response: The Interdependence of State and Private Sector Institutions', Development and Change, 53(1), pp. 190-216. https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12702

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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