When Do Shelter-in-Place Orders Fight Covid-19 Best? Policy Heterogeneity Across States and Adoption Time

75 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020 Last revised: 11 May 2020

See all articles by Dhaval Dave

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Andrew Friedson

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics

Kyutaro Matsuzawa

San Diego State University

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

Shelter in place orders (SIPOs) require residents to remain home for all but essential activities such as purchasing food or medicine, caring for others, exercise, or traveling for employment deemed essential. Between March 19 and April 20, 2020, 40 states and the District of Columbia adopted SIPOs. This study explores the impact of SIPOs on health, with particular attention to heterogeneity in their impacts. First, using daily state-level social distancing data from SafeGraph and a difference-in-differences approach, we document that adoption of a SIPO was associated with a 5 to 10 percent increase in the rate at which state residents remained in their homes full-time. Then, using daily state-level coronavirus case data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we find that approximately three weeks following the adoption of a SIPO, cumulative COVID-19 cases fell by 44 percent. Event-study analyses confirm common COVID-19 case trends in the week prior to SIPO adoption and show that SIPO-induced case reductions grew larger over time. However, this average effect masks important heterogeneity across states — early adopters and high population density states appear to reap larger benefits from their SIPOs. Finally, we find that statewide SIPOs were associated with a reduction in coronavirus-related deaths, but estimated mortality effects were imprecisely estimated.

Suggested Citation

Dave, Dhaval and Friedson, Andrew and Matsuzawa, Kyutaro and Sabia, Joseph, When Do Shelter-in-Place Orders Fight Covid-19 Best? Policy Heterogeneity Across States and Adoption Time (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27091, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3592168

Dhaval Dave (Contact Author)

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452-4705
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

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New York, NY 10016-4309
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Andrew Friedson

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States

Kyutaro Matsuzawa

San Diego State University ( email )

San Diego, CA 92182-0763
United States

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

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