DP14788 Mobility Zones

Author(s): Ferdinando Monte
Publication Date: May 2020
Keyword(s): COVID-19, Individual Mobility, Mobility Restrictions, Smartphone Data
JEL(s): H1, R1
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14788

This short note constructs Mobility Zones to facilitate the discussion on the geographic extent of individual mobility restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19. Mobility Zones are disjoint sets of counties where a given level of individual mobility directly or indirectly connects all counties within each set. I compute Mobility Zones for the United States and each state using smartphone-based mobility data between counties. The average area and population of Mobility Zones have slightly grown at the onset of the epidemic and have sharply shrunk afterward. Pre-Covid-19 Mobility Zones may be useful in calibrating quantitative studies of targeted restriction policies, or for policymakers deciding on the adoption of specific mobility measures. Two examples suggest the use of Mobility Zones to inform within-state differences and cross-state coordination in mobility restriction policies.