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
Date Written: January 06, 2023
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.
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: Suggested Citation