COVID-19 and Federalism in India: Capturing the Effects of Voluntary, State and Central Responses on Mobility
45 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 10, 2020
In response to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases, nations resorted to two channels to reduce population mobility and ensure social distancing. These channels were government-ordered containment and closure measures; and voluntary reductions in mobility due to rising public awareness. Initially, India’s state governments enacted varying social distancing policies until the Central government overrode states to impose a nationwide lockdown on 24th March. This paper examines the relative impact of state and central level policies on changes in mobility. This is analysed using event study difference-in-differences (DID) and panel GLS regressions of state-level data on closure orders and mobility changes. The first policy enacted by each state was ineffective on average, but some states managed to reduce mobility by imposing further restrictions. In contrast, the national lockdown had a much larger and persistent effect for almost all states. Further, rising awareness about COVID-19 did not lead to any independent changes in mobility.
Keywords: COVID-19, Mobility, Social Distancing, Federalism, Lockdown
JEL Classification: I18, H11, H77, C23
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