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Brownbag: The Effect of Distancing Policies on the Reproduction Rate of COVID-19

Online Event
Brownbag 210310
Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


Social distancing became the primary preventive strategy against COVID-19 in 2020. This paper quantifies the effect of distancing policies on the reproduction rate (Rt) of the virus. I distinguish two restriction types: on places of gatherings and on ways of mobility. I find that a place or a mobility restriction reduces Rt by about 38 and 28 percents respectively. This result suggests roughly 3 restrictions were sufficient to to push Rt below 1 stopping the epidemic assuming the basic reproduction rate of Covid-19 was 3 in the first wave. These effects are identified from the cross-country variation of interventions on a daily-country panel controlling for a rich set of covariates including neighborhood effects. Voluntary and policy compliant distancing behaviors are separated by a first stage estimation of the effects of distancing policies on social activities measured by Google’s mobility reports.