The Impact of Domestic Travel Bans on Covid-19 is Nonlinear in Their Duration

27 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2021 Last revised: 24 Apr 2021

See all articles by Fiona Burlig

Fiona Burlig

University of Chicago

Anant Sudarshan

University of Chicago

Garrison Schlauch

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 19, 2021

Abstract

Domestic mobility restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 are widespread in developing countries, and have trapped millions of migrant workers in hotspot cities. We show that bans can increase cumulative infections relative to a counterfactual san restrictions. A SEIR model shows bans’ impacts are nonlinear in duration. We empirically test this hypothesis using a natural experiment in India as well as data from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa, and Kenya. Although very short and long restrictions limit the spread of disease, moderately lengthy restrictions substantially increase infections. This suggests significant caution before imposing mobility restrictions in developing countries.

Keywords: COVID-19, travel bans, migrant workers

JEL Classification: I18, J60, O12

Suggested Citation

Burlig, Fiona and Sudarshan, Anant and Schlauch, Garrison, The Impact of Domestic Travel Bans on Covid-19 is Nonlinear in Their Duration (April 19, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-48, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3830602 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3830602

Fiona Burlig (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

5757 S. University Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Anant Sudarshan

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Garrison Schlauch

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

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