Mobility and Engagement Following the SARS-Cov-2 Outbreak
21 Pages Posted: 23 May 2020
Date Written: May, 2020
We develop a Social Distancing Index (SDI) based on a range of mobility metrics from Safegraph geolocation data, and validate the index with mobility data from Google and Unacast. We construct SDIs at the county, MSA, state and nationwide level, and link these measures to indicators of economic activity. According to our measures, the bulk of social distancing occurred during the week of March 15 and simultaneously across the U.S. At the national peak of social distancing in early April, localities that engaged in 10% more social distancing than average saw an additional 0.6% of their populations claiming unemployment insurance, an additional 2.8 pp reduction in small businesses employment, an additional 2.6 pp increase in small business closures, and an additional 3.2 pp reduction in new-business applications. A gradual and broad-based reduction in social distancing started in the third week of April.
Keywords: Social Distancing Index, Location Data, COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, Social Distancing and Economic Activity
JEL Classification: E66, C15, R11, R19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation