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How Effective Are Social Distancing Policies? Evidence on the Fight against Covid-19 from Germany

Ulrich Glogowsky, Emanuel Hansen and Simeon Schächtele

No 8361, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: To fight the spread of Covid-19, many countries implemented unprecedented social distancing policies. This is the first paper that uses an event-study approach to examine the effects of the German social distancing policies on (a) individual behavior and (b) the spread of the epidemic. Combining administrative health data and cell phone data, we find that the policies, first, heavily reduced citizens’ mobility and, second, strongly contained the epidemic. In comparison to a benchmark without social distancing, within three weeks, the policies avoided 84% of the potential Covid-19 cases (point estimate: 499.3K) and 66% of the potential fatalities (5.4K).

Keywords: Covid-19; social distancing policies; policy evaluation; mobility behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 H12 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
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