The Social Divide of Social Distancing: Shelter-in-Place Behavior in Santiago during the COVID-19 Pandemic

37 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2020 Last revised: 5 Apr 2021

See all articles by Aldo Carranza

Aldo Carranza

Stanford University

Marcel Goic

University of Chile - Industrial Engineering

Eduardo Lara

University of Chile

Marcelo Olivares

University of Chile; University of Chile - Engineering Department

Gabriel Y. Weintraub

Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

Julio Covarrubia

Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTEL)

Cristian Escobedo

University of Chile

Natalia Jara

Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTEL)

Leonardo J. Basso

Universidad de Chile - Civil Engineering Department; Instituto Sistemas Complejos de Ingenieria (ISCI)

Date Written: September 12, 2020

Abstract

Voluntary shelter-in-place directives and lockdowns are the main non-pharmaceutical interventions that governments around the globe have used to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. In this paper we study the impact of such interventions in the capital of a developing country, Santiago, Chile, that exhibits large socioeconomic inequality. A distinctive feature of our study is that we use granular geolocated mobile phone data to construct mobility measures that capture (1) shelter-in-place behavior, and (2) trips within the city to destinations with potentially different risk profiles. Using panel data linear regression models we first show that the impact of social distancing measures and lockdowns on mobility is highly heterogeneous and dependent on socioeconomic levels. More specifically, our estimates indicate that while zones of high socioeconomic levels can exhibit reductions in mobility of around 50\% to 90\% depending on the specific mobility metric used, these reductions are only 20\% to 50\% for lower-income communities. The large reductions in higher-income communities are significantly driven by voluntary shelter-in-place behavior. Second, also using panel data methods we show that our mobility measures are important predictors of infections: a 10\% increase in mobility correlates with approximately a 5\% increase in the rate of infection. Our results suggest that mobility is an important factor explaining differences in infections rates between high and low incomes areas within the city. Further, they confirm the challenges of reducing mobility in lower-income communities, where people generate their income from their daily work. To be effective, shelter-in-place restrictions in municipalities of low socioeconomic levels may need to be complemented by other supporting measures that enable their inhabitants to increase compliance.

Keywords: Lockdowns, Mobility, Pandemic, Socioeconomic Heterogeneity

Suggested Citation

Carranza, Aldo and Goic, Marcel and Lara, Eduardo and Olivares, Marcelo and Weintraub, Gabriel Y. and Covarrubia, Julio and Escobedo, Cristian and Jara, Natalia and Basso, Leonardo J., The Social Divide of Social Distancing: Shelter-in-Place Behavior in Santiago during the COVID-19 Pandemic (September 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3691373 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3691373

Aldo Carranza

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Marcel Goic

University of Chile - Industrial Engineering ( email )

República 701, Santiago
Chile

Eduardo Lara

University of Chile ( email )

Pío Nono Nº1, Providencia
Santiago, R. Metropolitana 7520421
Chile

Marcelo Olivares

University of Chile ( email )

Pío Nono Nº1, Providencia
Santiago, R. Metropolitana 7520421
Chile

University of Chile - Engineering Department ( email )

Republica 701 Santiago
Chile

Gabriel Y. Weintraub (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Julio Covarrubia

Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTEL)

Chile

Cristian Escobedo

University of Chile

Pío Nono Nº1, Providencia
Santiago, R. Metropolitana 7520421
Chile

Natalia Jara

Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTEL)

Chile

Leonardo J. Basso

Universidad de Chile - Civil Engineering Department ( email )

Casilla 228-3
Santiago
Chile
56 2 978 4380 (Phone)
56 2 689 4206 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.leonardojbasso.cl

Instituto Sistemas Complejos de Ingenieria (ISCI) ( email )

Republica 695
Santiago
Santiago
Chile

HOME PAGE: http://www.isci.cl

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