God is in the Rain: The Impact of Rainfall-Induced Early Social Distancing on COVID-19 Outbreaks

48 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020 Last revised: 7 Jul 2021

See all articles by Ajay Shenoy

Ajay Shenoy

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Bhavyaa Sharma

University of California, Santa Cruz

Guanghong Xu

University of California, Santa Cruz

Rolly Kapoor

University of California, Santa Cruz

Haedong Rho

University of California, Santa Cruz

Kinpritma Sangha

Independent

Date Written: April 24, 2021

Abstract

We measure the benefit to society created by preventing COVID-19 deaths through a marginal increase in early social distancing. We exploit county-level rainfall on the last weekend before statewide lockdown in the early phase of the pandemic. After controlling for historical rainfall, temperature, and state fixed-effects, current rainfall is a plausibly exogenous instrument for social distancing. A one percent decrease in the population leaving home on the weekend before lockdown creates an average of 132 dollars of benefit per county resident within 2 weeks. The impacts of earlier distancing compound over time and mainly arise from lowering the risk of a major outbreak, yielding large but unevenly distributed social benefit.

Note:

Funding: None to Declare

Declaration of Interest: Kinpritma Sangha Consults with pharmaceutical companies. Did not receive any funding or compensation for this work. All other authors none to declare.

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, social distancing, rainfall

JEL Classification: I12, I18, H75

Suggested Citation

Shenoy, Ajay and Sharma, Bhavyaa and Xu, Guanghong and Kapoor, Rolly and Rho, Haedong and Sangha, Kinpritma, God is in the Rain: The Impact of Rainfall-Induced Early Social Distancing on COVID-19 Outbreaks (April 24, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3605549 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3605549

Ajay Shenoy (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.ucsc.edu/~azshenoy

Bhavyaa Sharma

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Guanghong Xu

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
(Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://guanghongxu.github.io/

Rolly Kapoor

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Haedong Rho

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Kinpritma Sangha

Independent ( email )

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