Direct and Spillover Effects from Staggered Adoption of Health Policies: Evidence from COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders

51 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2021

See all articles by Vadim Elenev

Vadim Elenev

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School

Luis Quintero

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School

Alessandro Rebucci

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Emilia Simeonova

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2021

Abstract

Local policies can have substantial spillovers both across geographies and markets. We estimate U.S. county level direct and spillover effects of Stay-at-Home-Orders (SHOs) aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 on mobility and social interaction measures. We propose a modified difference-in-difference regression design, based on contiguous-county triplets. This approach compares treated counties, which adopted the SHO, and neighbors, to the neighbor's neighbors, which we term hinterland, counties. We find that mobility in neighboring counties declined by a third to a half as much as in the treated locations. These spillover effects are concentrated in neighbors that share media markets with treated counties. Using directional mobility data, we decompose the spillover decline in mobility into reductions in external visits coming from the treated county and an even stronger voluntary decline in the neighbor county's own traffic. Together, our results provide strong evidence that SHOs operate through information sharing and illustrate the quantitative importance of voluntary social distancing. The finding that the estimated spillovers are in the same direction as the direct effects casts doubt on the prevailing narrative that a more nationally coordinated policy response would have accomplished a greater reduction in mobility and contacts.

Keywords: COVID-19, Media Markets, Non Pharmaceutical Interventions, Place-Based Policies, Smart-phone-based Mobility Data, Spillovers, Stay-at-Home Orders, voluntary social distancing

JEL Classification: H73, I18, R12

Suggested Citation

Elenev, Vadim and Quintero, Luis and Rebucci, Alessandro and Simeonova, Emilia, Direct and Spillover Effects from Staggered Adoption of Health Policies: Evidence from COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders (October 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP16649, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3960232

Vadim Elenev (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 20036-1984
United States

Luis Quintero

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

Alessandro Rebucci

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://carey.jhu.edu/faculty-research/faculty-directory/alessandro-rebucci-phd

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Emilia Simeonova

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

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