Paid Sick-Leave and Physical Mobility: Evidence from the United States During a Pandemic

66 Pages Posted: 12 May 2020 Last revised: 23 Jun 2021

See all articles by Martin Andersen

Martin Andersen

UNC Greensboro

Catherine Maclean

Temple University

Michael Pesko

Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Kosali Ilayperuma Simon

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

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

We study the effects of a massive temporary U.S. paid sick leave (PSL) mandate that became effective April 1st, 2020 on self-quarantining, proxied by physical mobility behaviors gleaned from cellular devices. Such behaviors are critical for containment of infectious diseases. The national PSL policy was implemented in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and mandated two weeks of fully compensated paid leave. We study the impact of this policy using difference-in-differences methods, leveraging pre-policy county-level differences in the share of ‘nonessential’ workers likely eligible for paid sick leave benefits. We find robust evidence that the policy increased the average number of hours at home and reduced the share of the individuals likely at work. Comparing the county with the lowest to highest policy exposure, we find that the average hours per day not at home, and at work decreased by 8.9% and 6.9% post-policy.

Suggested Citation

Andersen, Martin and Maclean, Catherine and Pesko, Michael and Simon, Kosali Ilayperuma, Paid Sick-Leave and Physical Mobility: Evidence from the United States During a Pandemic (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27138, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3597871

Martin Andersen (Contact Author)

UNC Greensboro ( email )

Greensboro, NC 27402-6165
United States
3363343904 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/msandersen/

Catherine Maclean

Temple University ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Michael Pesko

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

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

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