Exiting from Lockdowns: Early Evidence from Reopenings in Europe

34 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020

See all articles by Jeffrey R. Franks

Jeffrey R. Franks

International Monetary Fund

Bertrand Gruss

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Carlos Mulas Granados

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Manasa Patnam

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Sebastian Weber

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: October 2020

Abstract

European authorities introduced stringent lockdown measures in early 2020 to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. As the first wave of infection curves flattened and the outbreak appeared controlled, most countries started to reopen their economies albeit using diverse strategies. This paper introduces a novel daily database of sectoral reopening measures in Europe during the first-wave and documents that country plans differed significantly in terms of timing, pace, and sequencing of sectoral reopening measures. We then show that reopenings led to a recovery in mobility-a proxy for economic activity-but at the cost of somewhat higher infections. However, the experience with reopening reveals some original dimensions of this trade-off. First, the increase in COVID-19 infections after reopening appears less severe in fatality rates. Second, a given reopening step is associated with a worse reinfection outcome in countries that started reopening earlier on the infection curve or that opened all sectors at a fast pace in a relatively short time. Finally, while opening measures tend to have an amplification effect on subsequent cases when a large fraction of the economy is already open, this effect appears heterogenous across sectors.

JEL Classification: D80, I18, K00, I20, I12, I10, H50, J10

Suggested Citation

Franks, Jeffrey R. and Gruss, Bertrand and Mulas Granados, Carlos and Patnam, Manasa and Weber, Sebastian, Exiting from Lockdowns: Early Evidence from Reopenings in Europe (October 2020). IMF Working Paper No. 2020/218, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3744685

Jeffrey R. Franks (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Bertrand Gruss

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Carlos Mulas Granados

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Manasa Patnam

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Sebastian Weber

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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