Economics at your fingertips  

Japan’s voluntary lockdown: further evidence based on age-specific mobile location data

Tsutomu Watanabe () and Tomoyoshi Yabu ()
Additional contact information
Tsutomu Watanabe: University of Tokyo

The Japanese Economic Review, 2021, vol. 72, issue 3, No 2, 333-370

Abstract: Abstract Changes in people’s behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic can be regarded as the result of two types of effects: the “intervention effect” (changes resulting from government orders for people to change their behavior) and the “information effect” (voluntary changes in people’s behavior based on information about the pandemic). Using age-specific mobile location data, we examine how the intervention and information effects differ across age groups. Our main findings are as follows. First, the age profile of the intervention effect shows that the degree to which people refrained from going out was smaller for older age groups, who are at a higher risk of serious illness and death, than for younger age groups. Second, the age profile of the information effect shows that the degree to which people stayed at home tended to increase with age for weekends and holidays. Thus, while Acemoglu et al. (2020) proposed targeted lockdowns requiring stricter lockdown policies for the oldest group in order to protect those at a high risk of serious illness and death, our findings suggest that Japan’s government intervention had a very different effect in that it primarily reduced outings by the young, and what led to the quarantining of older groups at higher risk instead was people’s voluntary response to information about the pandemic. Third, the information effect has been on a downward trend since the summer of 2020. It is relatively more pronounced among the young, so that the age profile of the information effect remains upward sloping.

Keywords: Covid-19; Pandemic; Social behavior change; Stay at home; Lockdown; State of emergency; Age-specific mobile location data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E60 H12 H70 I12 L51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1007/s42973-021-00077-9

Access Statistics for this article

The Japanese Economic Review is currently edited by Michihiro Kandori

More articles in The Japanese Economic Review from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2022-05-12
Handle: RePEc:spr:jecrev:v:72:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s42973-021-00077-9