How effective are restrictions on mobility in limiting COVID-19 spread? Using zip code data across five U.S. cities, we estimate that total cases per capita decrease by 19% for every ten percentage point fall in mobility. Addressing endogeneity concerns, we instrument for travel by residential teleworkable and essential shares and find a 25% decline in cases per capita. Using panel data for NYC with week and zip code fixed effects, we estimate a decline of 30%. We find substantial spatial and temporal heterogeneity; east coast cities have stronger effects, with the largest for NYC in the pandemic's early stages.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics
- Urban Studies
- Essential workers
- Public transportation