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The Efficacy of Lockdown Against COVID-19: A Cross-Country Panel Analysis


  • Vincenzo Alfano

    (University of Napoli Federico II)

  • Salvatore Ercolano

    (University of Basilicata)


Background There has been much debate about the effectiveness of lockdown measures in containing COVID-19, and their appropriateness given the economic and social cost they entail. To the best of our knowledge, no existing contribution to the literature has attempted to gauge the effectiveness of lockdown measures over time in a longitudinal cross-country perspective. Objectives This paper aims to fill the gap in the literature by assessing, at an international level, the effect of lockdown measures (or the lack of such measures) on the numbers of new infections. Given this policy’s expected change in effectiveness over time, we also measure the effect of having a lockdown implemented over a given number of days (from 7 to 20 days). Methods We pursue our objectives by means of a quantitative panel analysis, building a longitudinal dataset with observations from countries all over the world, and estimating the impact of lockdown via feasible generalized least squares fixed effect, random effects, generalized estimating equation, and hierarchical linear models. Results Our results show that lockdown is effective in reducing the number of new cases in the countries that implement it, compared with those countries that do not. This is especially true around 10 days after the implementation of the policy. Its efficacy continues to grow up to 20 days after implementation. Conclusion Results suggest that lockdown is effective in reducing the R0, i.e. the number of people infected by each infected person, and that, unlike what has been suggested in previous analyses, its efficacy continues to hold 20 days after the introduction of the policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincenzo Alfano & Salvatore Ercolano, 2020. "The Efficacy of Lockdown Against COVID-19: A Cross-Country Panel Analysis," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 509-517, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:aphecp:v:18:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1007_s40258-020-00596-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s40258-020-00596-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sardar, Tridip & Nadim, Sk Shahid & Rana, Sourav & Chattopadhyay, Joydev, 2020. "Assessment of lockdown effect in some states and overall India: A predictive mathematical study on COVID-19 outbreak," Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).
    2. Facundo Piguillem & Liyan Shi, 2022. "Optimal Covid-19 Quarantine and Testing Policies," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(647), pages 2534-2562.
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