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Andrew Friedson (), Drew McNichols, Joseph J. Sabia and Dhaval Dave

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2021, vol. 40, issue 1, 258-283

Abstract: A shelter‐in‐place order (SIPO) is one of the most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions designed to curb the spread of COVID‐19. On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued the first statewide SIPO in the United States. The order closed non‐essential businesses and required residents to shelter in place for all but essential activities such as grocery shopping, retrieving prescriptions from a pharmacy, or caring for relatives. This study is the first in the economics literature to estimate the effect of a statewide SIPO on public health. Using daily state‐level coronavirus data and a synthetic control research design, we find that California's statewide SIPO reduced COVID‐19 cases by 160.9 to 194.7 per 100,000 population by April 20, one month following the order. We further find that California's SIPO led to as many as 1,566 fewer COVID‐19 deaths during this period. Back‐of‐the‐envelope calculations suggest that there were about 649 to 703 job losses per life saved, and about 14 to16 job losses per case averted during this post‐treatment period.

Date: 2021
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