Compulsory Face Mask Policies Do not Affect Community Mobility in Germany

50 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 17 Jun 2020

See all articles by Roxanne Kovacs

Roxanne Kovacs

London School of Hygiene and 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: June 12, 2020

Abstract

There is currently a heated debate about whether the general public should be required to wear protective face masks to contain COVID-19. A key concern is that compulsory face mask policies will make the public feel safer, and may (due to risk compensation) undermine the most important public-health advice to contain COVID-19 – which is to reduce mobility and maintain social distancing. This study provides first evidence on the impact of compulsory face mask policies on community mobility. We use a difference-in-differences design, which exploits the staggered implementation of compulsory face mask policies by German states. We use anonymised GPS data from Google's Location History feature to measure daily mobility in public spaces. We find no evidence suggesting that compulsory face mask policies affect community mobility in public spaces in Germany. We can rule out even small increases in mobility that are larger than 0.03 standard deviations.

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, Compulsory Face Mask Policies Do not Affect Community Mobility in Germany (June 12, 2020). 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 and 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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