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COVID-19: The impact of social distancing policies, cross-country analysis

Gonzalo Castex (), Evgenia Dechter and Miguel Lorca ()
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Gonzalo Castex: University of New South Wales
Miguel Lorca: University of New South Wales

Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, 2021, vol. 5, issue 1, No 6, 135-159

Abstract: Abstract At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic a large number of countries introduced a range of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Whereas the policies are similar across countries, country characteristics vary substantially. We examine the effectiveness of such policies using a cross-country variation in socio-economic, environmental and geographic, and health system dimensions. The effectiveness of policies that prescribe closures of schools and workplaces is declining with population density, country surface area, employment rate and proportion of elderly in the population; and increasing with GDP per capita and health expenditure. Cross-country human mobility data reinforce some of these results. We argue that the findings can be explained by behavioural response to risk perceptions and resource constraints. Voluntary practice of social distancing might be less prevalent in communities with lower perceived risk, associated with better access to health care and smaller proportion of elderly population. Higher population density, larger geographical area, and higher employment rate may require more resources to ensure compliance with lockdown policies.

Keywords: COVID-19; Non-pharmaceutical interventions; Cross-country analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s41885-020-00076-x

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