Symmetrical criteria must be used when comparing similar situations, argues Sharif


An article by PPOL and social science associate professor and our faculty associate Naubahar Sharif discusses the concept of “analytical symmetry”, also known as “evaluative symmetry”, using the example of popular comparisons of Singapore's response to the COVID-19 pandemic to Hong Kong's.   

Sharif notes a deeper issue: that far too many observers, analysts, and even scientifically minded academics engage in praise or criticism a priori — before fully understanding both sides of the issue.  He argues that it is only with analytical symmetry can we hope to take away meaningful policy lessons and directions — whether it be for one place’s response to COVID-19 or for anything else.

Read his opinion piece published on 24 June 2020 on China Daily.

Email Subscription

Get updates from HKUST IEMS