Determinants of the Community Mobility During the COVID-19 Epidemic: The Role of Government Regulations and Information

37 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2020

See all articles by Silvia Mendolia

Silvia Mendolia

University of Wollongong

Olena Stavrunova

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Oleg Yerokhin

University of Wollongong - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper studies the dynamics of human mobility during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries around the world. The main goal of the analysis is to empirically separate voluntary reductions in mobility driven by the information about the location-specific pandemic trends from the effects of the government-imposed social distancing mandates. Google human mobility dataset is used to track the dynamics of mobility across a wide range of categories (e.g. workplace, retail and recreational activities, etc), while information on country-specific counts of COVID-19 cases and deaths is used as a proxy for the information about the spread of the pandemic available to the population.A detailed index of stringency of the government-imposed social distancing policies in around 100 countries is used as a measure of government response. We find that human mobility does respond in a significant way to the information about the spread of the pandemic. This channel can explain about 14% of the overall reduction in mobility across the affected countries. At the same time, our results imply that government-imposed policies account for the majority of the reduction in the mobility observed during this period.

Keywords: COVID-19, mobility, government response, information, group fixed effects

JEL Classification: H12, D70, I18, D80

Suggested Citation

Mendolia, Silvia and Stavrunova, Olena and Yerokhin, Oleg, Determinants of the Community Mobility During the COVID-19 Epidemic: The Role of Government Regulations and Information. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13778, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3708640

Silvia Mendolia (Contact Author)

University of Wollongong ( email )

Northfields Avenue
Wollongong, 2522
Australia

Olena Stavrunova

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

15 Broadway, Ultimo
PO Box 123
Sydney, NSW 2007
Australia

Oleg Yerokhin

University of Wollongong - Department of Economics ( email )

Building 40A, Level 2
Wollongong, NSW 2522
Australia

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