Discussion paper

DP14953 Rotation as Contagion Mitigation

We study rotation schemes that govern individuals' activities within an organization during an epidemic. We optimize the frequency of rotation and degree of cross-mixing of the rotating subpopulations. Frequency affects risk over the length of diffusion within the infected subpopulation until the organization detects and/or reacts to the infection. If the reaction time is short, then such risk is undesirable since the growth of the prevalence is initially convex in time. Frequent rotation, which acts as insurance against exposure time risk, is then optimal. Infrequent rotation becomes optimal if the organization reacts slowly. Mixing of the rotating subpopulations is detrimental because it increases the share of interactions between sick and healthy individuals. However, the effect of mixing is small if the terminal prevalence is low in the absence of mixing.


Ely, J, A Galeotti and J Steiner (2020), ‘DP14953 Rotation as Contagion Mitigation‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14953. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14953