The Spread of Social Distancing

15 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020 Last revised: 19 Aug 2020

See all articles by Jonathan A Cook

Jonathan A Cook

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; affiliation not provided to SSRN

Noah Newberger

Public Company Accounting Oversight Board; Oeste Division of Research & Statistics

Sami Smalling

Cornell University

Date Written: August 16, 2020

Abstract

We find that social distancing is affected by the policies set in neighboring counties, even after controlling for confirmed COVID cases and weather. A stay-at-home order in a neighboring county reduces social distancing by more than half as much as implementing an order in that county. This implies that, to increase social distancing in hard-hit counties, stay-at-home orders need to be implemented in a regionally or federally coordinated response. We also find that estimates of the efficacy of stay-at-home orders that do not control for policies in neighboring counties overstate the effect of these orders by about 50%.

Keywords: COVID-19, social distancing, stay-at-home orders, spillover effects

Suggested Citation

Cook, Jonathan A and Newberger, Noah and Smalling, Sami, The Spread of Social Distancing (August 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3610504 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3610504

Jonathan A Cook

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ( email )

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Noah Newberger (Contact Author)

Public Company Accounting Oversight Board ( email )

1666 Kase Street
Washington, DC 20006
United States

Oeste Division of Research & Statistics ( email )

8 The Green,
Suite #8342
Dover, DE 19901
United States

Sami Smalling

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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