Determinants of Physical Distancing during the COVID-19 Epidemic in Brazil: Effects from Mandatory Rules, Numbers of Cases and Duration of Rules
Moraes, R. F. (2020). Determinants of Physical Distancing during the COVID-19 Epidemic in Brazil: Effects from Mandatory Rules, Numbers of Cases and Duration of Rules. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, 25 (9).
8 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 4 Sep 2020
Date Written: June 21, 2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing is being promoted to reduce the disease transmission and pressure on health systems. Yet, what determines physical distancing? Through a panel data analysis, this article identifies some of its determinants. Using a specifically built index that measures the strictness of physical distancing rules in the 27 Brazilian states, this paper isolates the effect of mandatory physical distancing rules from other potential determinants of physical distancing. The article concludes that physical distancing is influenced by at least three variables: the strictness of mandatory physical distancing rules, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the duration of rules. Evidence also indicates that the effect of physical distancing measures is relatively stronger than that of the number of cases – physical distancing is determined proportionally more by mandatory policies than people’s awareness about the severity of the epidemic. These results have at least two policy implications. First, governments should adopt mandatory measures in order to increase physical distancing – rather than expect people to adopt them on their own. Second, the timing of adopting them is important, since people are unlikely to comply with them for long periods of time.
Note: Funding: None to declare
Declaration of Interest: None to declare
Keywords: COVID-19, social distancing, Brazil, non-pharmaceutical interventions
JEL Classification: I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation