DP14618 Poverty and Economic Dislocation Reduce Compliance with COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Protocols

Author(s): Jesse Driscoll, Konstantin Sonin, Jarnickae Wilson, Austin L. Wright
Publication Date: April 2020
Date Revised: April 2020
Keyword(s): compliance, COVID-19, shelter-in-place
JEL(s): H12, I18
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14618

Shelter-in-place policies reduce social contact and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Inconsistent compliance with social distancing creates local and regional interpersonal transmission risks. Using county-day measures on population movement derived from cellphone location data, we investigate whether compliance with local shelter-in-place ordinances varies across US counties differentially exposed to the recent trade war. In communities more exposed to retaliatory tariffs, compliance is significantly lower. Measures of local income and partisanship are also strongly predictive of compliance. Findings suggest targeted economic relief and non-partisan messaging could improve future compliance.