The Effect of Distancing Policies on the Reproduction Number of COVID-19

Rácz, Olivér Miklós (2023) The Effect of Distancing Policies on the Reproduction Number of COVID-19. Working Paper. Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest.

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Distancing policies became the primary preventive intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper estimates the effect of such interventions on the effective reproduction number (Rt) of this virus on a daily panel of 109 countries. Distancing interventions affect COVID infections indirectly through the regulation of social behaviors, which are also a function of voluntary decisions. The main contribution of this paper is the separation of policy-compliant and voluntary distancing effects. I identify the policy-compliant component of distancing behavior as rapid changes in social activity immediately after an intervention. This allows me to isolate the voluntary component as residual changes in activity. I use the isolated voluntary component as a control in the main estimation of distancing policy effects on Rt. I distinguish between (i) place restrictions: restricting destinations and (ii) mobility restrictions: regulations on inland movements. I find strong and permanent effects for both types of restrictions. Place restrictions that target specific destinations are found to be less effective than general mobility restrictions. The effect of voluntary distancing is also significantly negative but weaker than that of policy restrictions. These results suggest that governments can use distancing restrictions effectively in pushing the effective reproduction number below the containment threshold: Rt = 1.

Item Type:Monograph (Working Paper)
Series Name:Corvinus Economics Working Papers - CEWP
Series Number / Identification Number:2023/01
Uncontrolled Keywords:COVID-19, non-pharmaceutical interventions, causal identification, reproduction number, regression-discontinuity-in-time
JEL classification:C33 - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Panel Data Models; Spatio-temporal Models
C43 - Index Numbers and Aggregation; Leading indicators
C54 - Quantitative Policy Modeling
E65 - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
H12 - Crisis Management
H39 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Other
H84 - Disaster Aid
I12 - Health Production
I18 - Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Divisions:Institute of Economics
Subjects:Mathematics, Econometrics
Social welfare, insurance, health care

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ID Code:7948
Deposited By: Ádám Hoffmann
Deposited On:20 Feb 2023 12:19
Last Modified:04 Apr 2023 07:21

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