Did the Wisconsin Supreme Court Restart a Covid-19 Epidemic? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

75 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020

See all articles by Dhaval Dave

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Andrew Friedson

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics

Kyutaro Matsuzawa

San Diego State University

Drew McNichols

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

Both the White House and state governors have explicitly linked thresholds of reduced COVID-19 case growth to the lifting of statewide shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs). This "hardwired" policy endogeneity creates empirical challenges in credibly isolating the causal effect of lifting a statewide SIPO on COVID-19-related health. To break this simultaneity problem, the current study exploits a unique natural experiment generated by a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision. On May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court abolished the state's "Safer at Home" order, ruling that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services unconstitutionally usurped legislative authority to review COVID-19 regulations. We capitalize on this sudden, dramatic, and largely unanticipated termination of a statewide SIPO to estimate its effect on social distancing and COVID-19 case growth. Using a synthetic control design, we find no evidence that the repeal of the state SIPO impacted social distancing, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19-related mortality during the fortnight following enactment. Estimated effects were economically small and nowhere near statistically different from zero. We conclude that the impact of shelter-in-place orders is likely not symmetric across enactment and lifting of the orders.

Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, shelter-in-place order, synthetic control

JEL Classification: H75, I18

Suggested Citation

Dave, Dhaval and Friedson, Andrew and Matsuzawa, Kyutaro and McNichols, Drew and Sabia, Joseph, Did the Wisconsin Supreme Court Restart a Covid-19 Epidemic? Evidence from a Natural Experiment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13314, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3620628

Dhaval Dave (Contact Author)

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452-4705
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Andrew Friedson

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States

Kyutaro Matsuzawa

San Diego State University ( email )

San Diego, CA 92182-0763
United States

Drew McNichols

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States
5415564953 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.drewmcnichols.com/

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
26
PlumX Metrics