Social Connections with COVID-19-Affected Areas Increase Compliance with Mobility Restrictions

61 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020

See all articles by Ben Charoenwong

Ben Charoenwong

National University of Singapore - Department of Finance

Alan Kwan

The University of Hong Kong

Vesa Pursiainen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics; University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance

Date Written: April 13, 2020

Abstract

We study the role of social connections in households' responses to mobility restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 epidemic, using aggregated and anonymized Facebook data on social connections and mobile phone data for tracking movement. Measured at the US county level, a one-standard-deviation increase in social connections with China and Italy - the first countries with major outbreaks of the virus - roughly doubles the effectiveness of mobility restrictions. The effect of social connections on compliance is stronger for Republican counties but exists regardless of political orientation. It is also stronger for counties with older and less educated populations. Groups at higher risk from COVID-19 comply with restrictions better and are less affected by social connections. Our findings are consistent with social networks contributing to households' information acquisition about the pandemic.

Keywords: social networks, mobility restrictions, COVID-19

JEL Classification: D83, D85, H75, I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Charoenwong, Ben and Kwan, Alan and Pursiainen, Vesa, Social Connections with COVID-19-Affected Areas Increase Compliance with Mobility Restrictions (April 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3574560

Ben Charoenwong (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore - Department of Finance ( email )

Mochtar Riady Building
15 Kent Ridge Drive
Singapore, 119245
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://bizfaculty.nus.edu/faculty-profiles/519-ben

Alan Kwan

The University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Pokfulam HK
China

Vesa Pursiainen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Z├╝rich, 8032
Switzerland

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