Human Mobility Restrictions and the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China

33 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2021

See all articles by Hanming Fang

Hanming Fang

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Long Wang

ShanghaiTech University

Zoe Yang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong - CUHK Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 28, 2020

Abstract

We quantify the causal impact of human mobility restrictions, particularly the lockdown of Wuhan on January 23, 2020, on the containment and delay of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We employ difference-in-differences (DID) estimations to disentangle the lockdown effect on human mobility reductions from other confounding effects including panic effect, virus effect, and the Spring Festival effect. The lockdown of Wuhan reduced inflows to Wuhan by 76.98%, outflows from Wuhan by 56.31%, and within-Wuhan movements by 55.91%. We also estimate the dynamic effects of up to 22 lagged population inflows from Wuhan and other Hubei cities – the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV outbreak – on the destination cities' new infection cases. We also provide evidence that the enhanced social distancing policies in the 98 Chinese cities outside Hubei province were effective in reducing the impact of the population inflows from the epicenter cities in Hubei province on the spread of 2019-nCoV in the destination cities. We find that in the counterfactual world in which Wuhan were not locked down on January 23, 2020, the COVID-19 cases would be 105.27% higher in the 347 Chinese cities outside Hubei province. Our findings are relevant in the global efforts in pandemic containment.

Note: Funding: We do not have any funding support for this paper.

Declaration of Interests: We do not have any conflicts of interests.

Keywords: Human mobility; Lockdown; Social distancing; 2019-nCoV; COVID-19; Disease outbreak

JEL Classification: I18; I10

Suggested Citation

Fang, Hanming and Wang, Long and Yang, Yang, Human Mobility Restrictions and the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China (December 28, 2020). Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 191, No. 104272, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3756202 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3756202

Hanming Fang

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Long Wang (Contact Author)

ShanghaiTech University ( email )

100 Haike Rd
100 Haike Rd
Pudong Xinqu, AZ Shanghai 210201
China

Yang Yang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong - CUHK Business School ( email )

7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Building
12 Chak Cheung Street, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

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