Doubts about Density: COVID-19 across Cities and Towns

6 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020

See all articles by William C. Wheaton

William C. Wheaton

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Anne Kinsella Thompson

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Real Estate

Date Written: May 12, 2020

Abstract

It has been more than 100 days since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the US. Until most recently information on the spread of the disease was not available by geographic areas smaller than counties. In an earlier piece we found a significant positive impact of county density on the daily progress of the disease in a dynamic model. Since then, sporadic data on disease incidence at the municipal level has become available in a few states. We use Massachusetts data released on 4/15/20 and then again on 5/6/20 since it is a fully incorporated state. We find that municipalities with greater density and with a greater share of land use in commercial-industrial categories have a significantly higher percapita incidence of the disease. The quantitative impact of these two “urban” variables is particularly large.

Note: Funding: None.

Conflict of Interest: None.

Keywords: Coronavirus, Density, Urban Economics

JEL Classification: R, I

Suggested Citation

Wheaton, William C. and Kinsella Thompson, Anne, Doubts about Density: COVID-19 across Cities and Towns (May 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3586081 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3586081

William C. Wheaton (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-252B
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-1723 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)

Anne Kinsella Thompson

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Real Estate ( email )

United States

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