Economics at your fingertips  

Tracking Public and Private Responses to the COVID-19 Epidemic: Evidence from State and Local Government Actions

Sumedha Gupta (), Thuy D. Nguyen, Felipe Lozano Rojas, Shyam Raman, Byungkyu Lee, Ana Bento, Kosali Simon () and Coady Wing

No 27027, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of social distancing during the COVID-19 epidemic. We classify state and local government actions, and we study multiple proxies for social distancing based on data from smart devices. Mobility fell substantially in all states, even ones that have not adopted major distancing mandates. There is little evidence, for example, that stay-at-home mandates induced distancing. In contrast, early and information-focused actions have had bigger effects. Event studies show that first case announcements, emergency declarations, and school closures reduced mobility by 1-5% after 5 days and 7-45% after 20 days. Between March 1 and April 11, average time spent at home grew from 9.1 hours to 13.9 hours. We find, for example, that without state emergency declarations, event study estimates imply that hours at home would have been 11.3 hours in April, suggesting that 55% of the growth comes from emergency declarations and 45% comes from secular (non-policy) trends. State and local government actions induced changes in mobility on top of a large response across all states to the prevailing knowledge of public health risks. Early state policies conveyed information about the epidemic, suggesting that even the policy response mainly operates through a voluntary channel.

JEL-codes: I0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gen and nep-ure
Note: HC HE
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (91) Track citations by RSS feed

Published as Sumedha Gupta & Thuy Nguyen & Shyam Raman & Byungkyu Lee & Felipe Lozano-Rojas & Ana Bento & Kosali Simon & Coady Wing, 2021. "Tracking Public and Private Responses to the COVID-19 Epidemic," American Journal of Health Economics, vol 7(4), pages 361-404.

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)

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 working paper can be ordered from

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

Page updated 2022-09-25
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27027