The Medium Run Impact of Non Pharmaceutical Interventions. Evidence from the 1918 Flu in US Cities

37 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2020 Last revised: 27 Apr 2020

See all articles by Guillaume Chapelle

Guillaume Chapelle

CY Cergy Paris Université, CNRS, THEMA, F-95000 Cergy, France; SciencesPo - LIEPP - Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies

Date Written: April 16, 2020

Abstract

This paper discusses the impact of Non Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) used during the 1918 pandemic on local death rates and city growth. First, I estimate the impact of Non Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) as school closures and social distancing on the mortality rate on the medium run in 43 US cities. I show that if the death rate is lower in 1918 it becomes larger during the two next years, probably because the herd immunity is lower, reducing the net benefits of the policy. Second I investigate the impact of NPIs on cities dynamics. I don’t find any significant association between city’s growth and the implementation of NPIs. In a nutshell the results suggest that if NPIs might lower the fatality rate during the pic of the pandemic, their health benefits are fragile on the medium run as cities remain more sensitive to diseases in the following years. This suggests that the optimal policy responses to pandemics should also account for herd immunity.

Keywords: 1918 Pandemic, Non Pharmaceutical Policies, COVID-19

JEL Classification: I18, H51, H84

Suggested Citation

Chapelle, Guillaume, The Medium Run Impact of Non Pharmaceutical Interventions. Evidence from the 1918 Flu in US Cities (April 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3573562 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3573562

Guillaume Chapelle (Contact Author)

CY Cergy Paris Université, CNRS, THEMA, F-95000 Cergy, France ( email )

33 Boulevard du Port
Cergy-Pontoise Cedex, Cedex 95011
France

SciencesPo - LIEPP - Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies ( email )

27, rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris
France

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