The Effect of Compulsory Face Mask Policies on Community Mobility in Germany

Forthcoming in The Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

68 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 29 Jan 2023

See all articles by Roxanne Kovacs

Roxanne Kovacs

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Maurice Dunaiski

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research; University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 06, 2023

Abstract

There is an ongoing debate about making face masks compulsory in public spaces to contain COVID-19. A key concern is that such policies could undermine efforts to maintain social distancing and reduce mobility. We provide first evidence on the impact of compulsory face mask policies on community mobility. We exploit the staggered implementation of policies by German states during the first wave of the pandemic and measure mobility using geo-located smartphone data. We find that compulsory masking policies led to a short-term reduction in community mobility, with no significant medium-term effects. We can rule out even small increases in mobility.

Note:
Funding information: No funding received

Declaration of interest: The authors report no conflict of interest.

Keywords: COVID-19, face masks, social distancing, community mobility

JEL Classification: D9, H12, I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Kovacs, Roxanne and Dunaiski, Maurice and Tukiainen, Janne and Tukiainen, Janne, The Effect of Compulsory Face Mask Policies on Community Mobility in Germany (January 06, 2023). Forthcoming in The Scandinavian Journal of Economics., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3620070 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3620070

Roxanne Kovacs (Contact Author)

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine ( email )

Keppel Street
London, WC1E 7HT
United Kingdom

Maurice Dunaiski

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00101
Finland

University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Rehtorinpellonkatu 3
Turku, 20014
Finland

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