Preparedness Indicators: Measuring the Condition of Global Health Security


  • Andrew Lakoff Department of Sociology, University of Southern California



Preparedness, Covid-19, indicators, measurement, health security


One year before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Global Health Security Index (GHSI) ranked the United States first in the world in preparedness for the outbreak of a novel infectious disease. In turn, a number observers have asked why the US, despite this high ranking, proved to be so ill-prepared for the pandemic. This article argues that we should, rather, pose a different question about the significance of the GHSI: We should ask what “health security” meant from the perspective of this comparative index, and how it was formulated as a measurable condition. The article examines why this system for measuring and comparing pandemic preparedness among different countries was developed in the first place, what its goals were, and how these goals directed the attention of the index toward measuring certain capabilities and not others as keys to calculating and comparing levels of national readiness.


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How to Cite

Lakoff, A. (2021). Preparedness Indicators: Measuring the Condition of Global Health Security. Sociologica, 15(3), 25–43.