How Effective are Social Distancing Policies? Evidence on the Fight Against COVID-19 from Germany

39 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ulrich Glogowsky

Ulrich Glogowsky

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Emanuel Hansen

University of Cologne - Department of Economics

Simeon Schächtele

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

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Date Written: June 1, 2020

Abstract

To fight the spread of COVID-19, many countries implemented unprecedented social distancing policies. This is the first paper that uses an event-study approach to examine the effects of the German social distancing policies on (a) individual behavior and (b) the spread of the epidemic. Combining administrative health data and cell phone data, we find that the policies, first, heavily reduced citizens’ mobility and, second, strongly contained the epidemic. In comparison to a benchmark without social distancing, within three weeks, the policies avoided 84% of the potential COVID-19 cases (point estimate: 499.3K) and 66% of the potential fatalities (5.4K).

Note: Funding: Ulrich Glogowsky received financial support by the CRC TRR 190, Rationality and Competition. Emanuel Hansen received financial support by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy – EXC2126/1 – 390838866.

Declaration of Interest: None to declare

Keywords: COVID-19, corona, social distancing, social distancing policies, mobility behavior, pandemic, epidemic

JEL Classification: I18, H12, I12

Suggested Citation

Glogowsky, Ulrich and Hansen, Emanuel and Schächtele, Simeon, How Effective are Social Distancing Policies? Evidence on the Fight Against COVID-19 from Germany (June 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3619845 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3619845

Ulrich Glogowsky (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

Emanuel Hansen

University of Cologne - Department of Economics ( email )

Cologne, 50923
Germany
++ 49 (0)221/470-8650 (Phone)

Simeon Schächtele

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

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