Tracking Public and Private Responses to the Covid-19 Epidemic: Evidence from State and Local Government Actions

71 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020 Last revised: 8 May 2022

See all articles by Sumedha Gupta

Sumedha Gupta

Department of Economics, IUPUI

Thuy Dieu Nguyen

Indiana University Bloomington

Felipe Lozano-Rojas

University of Georgia

Shyam Raman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Byungkyu Lee

Indiana University

Ana Bento

Indiana University

Kosali Ilayperuma Simon

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Coady Wing

Indiana University

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of social distancing during the COVID-19 epidemic. We classify state and local government actions, and we study multiple proxies for social distancing based on data from smart devices. Mobility fell substantially in all states, even ones that have not adopted major distancing mandates. There is little evidence, for example, that stay-at-home mandates induced distancing. In contrast, early and information-focused actions have had bigger effects. Event studies show that first case announcements, emergency declarations, and school closures reduced mobility by 1-5% after 5 days and 7-45% after 20 days. Between March 1 and April 11, average time spent at home grew from 9.1 hours to 13.9 hours. We find, for example, that without state emergency declarations, event study estimates imply that hours at home would have been 11.3 hours in April, suggesting that 55% of the growth comes from emergency declarations and 45% comes from secular (non-policy) trends. State and local government actions induced changes in mobility on top of a large response across all states to the prevailing knowledge of public health risks. Early state policies conveyed information about the epidemic, suggesting that even the policy response mainly operates through a voluntary channel.

Suggested Citation

Gupta, Sumedha and Nguyen, Thuy Dieu and Lozano-Rojas, Felipe and Raman, Shyam and Lee, Byungkyu and Bento, Ana and Simon, Kosali Ilayperuma and Wing, Coady, Tracking Public and Private Responses to the Covid-19 Epidemic: Evidence from State and Local Government Actions (April 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27027, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3586158

Sumedha Gupta (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, IUPUI ( email )

425 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140
Germany

Thuy Dieu Nguyen

Indiana University Bloomington ( email )

Felipe Lozano-Rojas

University of Georgia ( email )

Baldwin Hall, 355 S Jackson St
204
Athens, GA 30602
United States
812 9296717 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://felipelozanorojas.com

Shyam Raman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Byungkyu Lee

Indiana University

Ana Bento

Indiana University

Kosali Ilayperuma Simon

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Coady Wing

Indiana University ( email )

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
54
Abstract Views
374
rank
515,084
PlumX Metrics