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Decades of privatization, outsourcing and budget cuts in the name of “efficiency” have significantly hampered many governments’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

At the same time, successful responses by other governments have shown that investments in core public sector capabilities make all the difference in times of emergency. The countries that have handled the crisis well are those where the state maintains a productive relationship with value creators in society, by investing in critical capacities and designing private-sector contracts to serve the public interest.

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