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Impacts of state COVID‐19 reopening policy on human mobility and mixing behavior

Thuy D. Nguyen, Sumedha Gupta (), Martin S. Andersen, Ana I. Bento, Kosali I. Simon and Coady Wing

Southern Economic Journal, 2021, vol. 88, issue 2, 458-486

Abstract: This study quantifies the effect of the 2020 state COVID economic activity reopening policies on daily mobility and mixing behavior, adding to the economic literature on individual responses to public health policy that addresses public contagion risks. We harness cellular device signal data and the timing of reopening plans to provide an assessment of the extent to which human mobility and physical proximity in the United States respond to the reversal of state closure policies. We observe substantial increases in mixing activities, 13.56% at 4 days and 48.65% at 4 weeks, following reopening events. Echoing a theme from the literature on the 2020 closures, mobility outside the home increased on average prior to these state actions. Furthermore, the largest increases in mobility occurred in states that were early adopters of closure measures and hard‐hit by the pandemic, suggesting that psychological fatigue is an important barrier to implementation of closure policies extending for prolonged periods of time.

Date: 2021
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https://doi.org/10.1002/soej.12538

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