Using Google Data to Understand Canadian Movement Reductions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

34 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2020

See all articles by Jeff Chan

Jeff Chan

Wilfrid Laurier University

Date Written: May 12, 2020

Abstract

This paper analyzes the extent to which mobility in Canada declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, using publicly released mobility data from Google. I first report that visits to non-residential locations sharply dropped across provinces after states of emergency were put into effect, with a corresponding increase in visits to residential locations. I then show that factors such as the previous day’s new reported cases and interest in COVID-related terms, as measured by Google Trends data, can help explain the extent of mobility reductions across different days. Finally, I explore whether certain provincial characteristics can help explain cross-provincial differences in staying at home versus going out.

Keywords: COVID-19, stay-at-home, state of emergency, Google

JEL Classification: I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Chan, Jeff, Using Google Data to Understand Canadian Movement Reductions During the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3599227 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3599227

Jeff Chan (Contact Author)

Wilfrid Laurier University ( email )

75 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5
Canada

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