Measuring Movement and Social Contact with Smartphone Data: A Real-time Application to COVID-19
42 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 15, 2021
Tracking human activity in real time and at fine spatial scale is particularly valuable during episodes such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we discuss the suitability of smartphone data for quantifying movement and social contact. These data cover broad sections of the US population and exhibit pre-pandemic patterns similar to conventional survey data. We develop and make publicly available a location exposure index that summarizes county-to-county movements and a device exposure index that quantifies social contact within venues. We also investigate the reliability of smartphone movement data during the pandemic.
JEL Classification: C8, R1, R4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation