Do Stay-at-Home Orders Cause People to Stay at Home? Effects of Stay-at-Home Orders on Consumer Behavior
37 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2020 Last revised: 22 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 22, 2020
We link the county-level rollout of stay-at-home orders 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 8% by the day after 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 stores. However, consumers sharply increased spending on food delivery services after orders went into effect. Third, responses to stay-at-home orders were fairly uniform across the country, and do not vary by income, political leanings, or urban/rural status.
Keywords: COVID-19, consumer spending, high-frequency data
JEL Classification: E21, I12, R2, R5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation