Measuring Movement and Social Contact with Smartphone Data: A Real-time Application to COVID-19

42 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021

See all articles by Victor Couture

Victor Couture

University of California, Berkeley

Jonathan I. Dingel

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Allison Green

Princeton University

Jessie Handbury

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

Kevin Williams

Yale School of Management; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 15, 2021

Abstract

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

Couture, Victor and Dingel, Jonathan I. and Green, Allison and Handbury, Jessie and Williams, Kevin, Measuring Movement and Social Contact with Smartphone Data: A Real-time Application to COVID-19 (January 15, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3775742 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3775742

Victor Couture

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jonathan I. Dingel (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jdingel.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Allison Green

Princeton University

Jessie Handbury

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Kevin Williams

Yale School of Management ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

HOME PAGE: http://som.yale.edu

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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