Tracking COVID-19 Spread in Italy with Mobility Data

13 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020 Last revised: 22 May 2020

Date Written: May 19, 2020


This paper provides insights for policymakers to evaluate the impact of staying at home and lockdown policies by investigating possible links between individual mobility and the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Italy. By relying on the daily data, the empirical evidence suggests that an increase in the number of visits to public spaces such as workspaces, parks, retail areas, and the use of public transportation is associated with an increase in the positive COVID-19 cases in a subsequent week. On the contrary, the increased intensity of staying in residential spaces is related to a decrease in the confirmed cases of COVID-19 significantly. Results are robust after controlling for the lockdown period. Empirical evidence underlines the importance of the lockdown decision. Further, there is substantial regional variation among the twenty regions of Italy. Individual presence in public vs. residential spaces has a more significant effect on the number of COVID-19 cases in the Lombardy region.

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Italy, Regional Heterogeneity, Mobility

JEL Classification: I10; I18; I31

Suggested Citation

Bilgin, Nuriye Melisa, Tracking COVID-19 Spread in Italy with Mobility Data (May 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Nuriye Melisa Bilgin (Contact Author)

Koc University ( email )

Koc University
Rumelifeneri Yolu
Sariyer, 34450


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics