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

41 Pages Posted: 17 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)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 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).

Keywords: COVID-19, social distancing policies, policy evaluation, mobility behavior

JEL Classification: I180, H120, I120

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 (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8361, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3628949

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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