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Do Stay-at-Home Orders Cause People to Stay at Home? Effects of Stay-at-Home Orders on Consumer Behavior

Diane Alexander and Ezra Karger

No WP-2020-12, Working Paper Series from Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Abstract: We link the county-level rollout of stay-at-home orders during the Covid-19 pandemic to anonymized cell phone records and consumer spending data. We document three patterns. First, stay-at-home orders caused people to stay home: county-level measures of mobility declined 6–7% within two days of when the stay-at-home order went into effect. Second, stay-at-home orders caused large reductions in spending in sectors associated with mobility: small businesses and large retail chains. Third, we estimate fairly uniform responses to stay-at-home orders across the country; effects do not vary by county-level income, political leanings, or urban/rural status.

Keywords: Covid-19; stay-at-home orders; consumer spending; high-frequency data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A19 E21 I12 R20 R50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 45
Date: 2020-04-17, Revised 2021-08-19
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cwa and nep-mac
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DOI: 10.21033/wp-2020-12

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