On the Effects of Covid-19 Safer-at-Home Policies on Social Distancing, Car Crashes and Pollution

50 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020

See all articles by Abel Brodeur

Abel Brodeur

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Nikolai Cook

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Taylor Wright

University of Ottawa

Abstract

In response to COVID-19, dramatic safer-at-home policies were implemented. The understanding of their impacts on social distancing, travel and pollution is in its infancy. We pair a differences-in-differences framework and synthetic control methods with rich cellular tracking and high frequency air pollution data.We find that state and U.S. county safer-at-home policies are successful in encouraging social distance; beginning the day of the policy trips outside the home are sharply decreased while time in residence rises sharply. With less vehicle traffic, we find: a 50% reduction in vehicular collisions; an approximately 25% reduction in Particulate Matter (PM2.5) concentrations; and a reduction of the incidence of county-days with an air quality index of code yellow or above by two-thirds. We calculate that the benefits from avoided car collisions could range from $7 billion to $24 billion while the benefits from reduced pollution could range from $650 million to $13.8 billion.

Keywords: COVID-19, safer-at-home, lockdowns, pollution, traffic, car crashes

JEL Classification: P48, Q53, Q58

Suggested Citation

Brodeur, Abel and Brodeur, Abel and Cook, Nikolai and Wright, Taylor, On the Effects of Covid-19 Safer-at-Home Policies on Social Distancing, Car Crashes and Pollution. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13255, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3602431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3602431

Abel Brodeur (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

200 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

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

Nikolai Cook

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

Social Sciences Building Room 9005
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

Taylor Wright

University of Ottawa

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