Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications Causal impact of masks, policies, behavior on early COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

Causal impact of masks, policies, behavior on early COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

Cemmap Working Paper CWP24/20

This paper evaluates the dynamic impact of various policies, such as school, business, and restaurant closures, adopted by the US states on the growth rates of confirmed Covid-19 cases and social distancing behavior measured by Google Mobility Reports, where we take into consideration of people’s voluntarily behavioral response to new information of transmission risks. Using the US state-level data, our analysis finds that both policies and information on transmission risks are important determinants of people’s social distancing behavior, and shows that a change in policies explains a large fraction of observed changes in social distancing behavior. Our counterfactual experiments indicate that removing all policies on April 1st of 2020 would have lead to 30 to 200 times more additional cases by late May. Removing only the non-essential businesses closures (while maintaining restrictions on movie theaters and restaurants) would have increased the weekly growth rate of cases between -0.02 and 0.06 and would have lead to -10% to 40% more cases by late May. Finally, nationally mandating face masks for employees on April 1st would have reduced the case growth rate by 0.1-0.25. This leads to 30% to 57% fewer reported cases by late May, which translates into, roughly, 30-57 thousand saved lives.

This output was updated on 06/07/2020.

More on this topic

Cemmap Working Paper CWP09/22
We compare two approaches to using information about the signs of structural shocks at specific dates within a structural vector autoregression (SVAR): imposing ‘narrative restrictions’ (NR) on the shock signs in an otherwise set-identified SVAR; and casting the information about the shock ...
Cemmap Working Paper CWP07/22
Economists are obsessed with rankings of institutions, journals, or scholars according to the value of some feature of interest.
Cemmap Working Paper CWP05/22
We designed a coaching program that focused on one aspect of teacher quality—teacher-child interactions—that researchers in education and psychology have argued is critical for child development and learning.
Cemmap Working Paper CWP04/22
It is often desired to rank different populations according to the value of some feature of each population. For example, it may be desired to rank neighbourhoods according to some measure of intergenerational mobility or countries according to some measure of academic achievement.
Cemmap Working Paper CWP44/21
We study a dynamic ordered logit model for panel data with fixed effects.