Poverty and Economic Dislocation Reduce Compliance with COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Protocols

36 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2020 Last revised: 20 Oct 2020

See all articles by Austin L. Wright

Austin L. Wright

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Konstantin Sonin

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy; Higher School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jesse Driscoll

University of California at San Diego

Jarnickae Wilson

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 4, 2020

Abstract

Shelter-in-place ordinances were the first wide-spread policy measures aimed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Compliance with shelter-in-place directives is individually costly and requires behavioral changes across diverse sub-populations. Leveraging county-day measures on population movement derived from cellphone location data and the staggered introduction of local mandates, we find that economic factors have played an important role in determining the level of compliance with local shelter-in-place ordinances in the US. Specifically, residents of low income areas complied with shelter-in-place ordinances less than their counterparts in areas with stronger economic endowments, even after accounting for potential confounding factors including partisanship, population density, exposure to recent trade disputes, unemployment, and other factors. Novel results on the local impact of the 2020 CARES Act suggest stimulus transfers that addressed economic dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased social distancing.

Keywords: COVID-19, shelter-in-place, compliance

JEL Classification: H12, I18

Suggested Citation

Wright, Austin L. and Sonin, Konstantin and Driscoll, Jesse and Wilson, Jarnickae, Poverty and Economic Dislocation Reduce Compliance with COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Protocols (September 4, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-40, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3573637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3573637

Austin L. Wright

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.austinlwright.com

Konstantin Sonin (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Higher School of Economics ( email )

20 Myasnitskaya street
Moscow, 119017
Russia

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Jesse Driscoll

University of California at San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

Jarnickae Wilson

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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