DP15178 Covid-19 across European Regions: the Role of Border Controls

Author(s): Matthias Eckardt, Kalle Kappner, Nikolaus Wolf
Publication Date: August 2020
Keyword(s): Border effects, COVID-19, INLA
JEL(s): C33, I18, R23
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15178

Attempts to constrain the spread of Covid-19 included the temporal reintroduction of travel restrictions and border controls within the Schengen area. While such restrictions clearly involve costs, their benefits have been disputed. We use a new set of daily regional data of confirmed Covid-19 cases from the respective statistical agencies of 18 Western European countries. Our data starts with calendar week 10 (starting 2nd March 2020) and extends to calendar week 17 (ending 26th April 2020), which allows us to test for treatment effects of border controls. We use Poisson models with fixed effects and controls for the stringency of national measures, as well as a Bayesian spatio-temporal specification using an integrated nested Laplace approximation (INLA) to take unobserved spatio-temporal heterogeneity into account. Both approaches suggest that border controls had a significant effect to limit the pandemic.