Controlling Epidemic Spread: Reducing Economic Losses with Targeted Closures

57 Pages Posted: 6 May 2020 Last revised: 30 Nov 2020

See all articles by John R. Birge

John R. Birge

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Ozan Candogan

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Yiding Feng

Northwestern University - Dept. Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Date Written: May 18, 2020

Abstract

Data on population movements can be helpful in designing targeted policy responses to curb epidemic spread. We study a spatial epidemic model, which explicitly accounts for population movements, and propose an optimization framework for obtaining targeted policies that restrict economic activity in different neighborhoods of a city at different levels. We focus on COVID-19 and calibrate our model using the mobile phone data that capture individuals’ movements within New York City (NYC). We show that appropriate targeting achieves a reduction in infections in all neighborhoods while resuming 23.1%–42.4% of the baseline non-teleworkable employment in NYC. By contrast, uniform (city-wide) restriction policies that achieve the same policy goal permit 3.92 to 6.25 times less non-teleworkable employment. Our targeting framework gives policy makers an approach for curbing the spread of epidemics while limiting unemployment.

Suggested Citation

Birge, John R. and Candogan, Ozan and Feng, Yiding, Controlling Epidemic Spread: Reducing Economic Losses with Targeted Closures (May 18, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-57, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3590621 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3590621

John R. Birge

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Ozan Candogan (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/ozan.candogan/

Yiding Feng

Northwestern University - Dept. Electrical Engineering & Computer Science ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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