The Impact of the Non-Essential Business Closure Policy on Covid-19 Infection Rates

45 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2021 Last revised: 1 Mar 2021

See all articles by Hummy Song

Hummy Song

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania - Operations, Information and Decisions Department

Ryan McKenna

Independence Blue Cross

Angela T. Chen

University of Pennsylvania

Guy David

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania - Health Care Management

Aaron Smith-McLallen

Independence Blue Cross

Date Written: January 2021

Abstract

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many localities instituted non-essential business closure orders, keeping individuals categorized as essential workers at the frontlines while sending their non-essential counterparts home. We examine the extent to which being designated as an essential or non-essential worker impacts one’s risk of being Covid-positive following the non-essential business closure order in Pennsylvania. We also assess the intrahousehold transmission risk experienced by their cohabiting family members and roommates. Using a difference-in-differences framework, we estimate that workers designated as essential have a 55% higher likelihood of being positive for Covid-19 than those classified as non-essential; in other words, non-essential workers experience a protective effect. While members of the health care and social assistance subsector contribute significantly to this overall effect, it is not completely driven by them. We also find evidence of intrahousehold transmission that differs in intensity by essential status. Dependents cohabiting with an essential worker have a 17% higher likelihood of being Covid-positive compared to those cohabiting with a non-essential worker. Roommates cohabiting with an essential worker experience a 38% increase in likelihood of being Covid-positive. Analysis of households with a Covid-positive member suggests that intrahousehold transmission is an important mechanism

Suggested Citation

Song, Hummy and McKenna, Ryan and Chen, Angela T. and David, Guy and Smith-McLallen, Aaron, The Impact of the Non-Essential Business Closure Policy on Covid-19 Infection Rates (January 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w28374, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3772613

Hummy Song (Contact Author)

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania - Operations, Information and Decisions Department ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
560 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://oid.wharton.upenn.edu/profile/hummy/

Ryan McKenna

Independence Blue Cross

Angela T. Chen

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Guy David

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania - Health Care Management ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Colonial Penn Center
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6358
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/faculty/david.html

Aaron Smith-McLallen

Independence Blue Cross ( email )

1901 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States

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