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God is in the rain: The impact of rainfall-induced early social distancing on COVID-19 outbreaks

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  • Shenoy, Ajay
  • Sharma, Bhavyaa
  • Xu, Guanghong
  • Kapoor, Rolly
  • Rho, Haedong Aiden
  • Sangha, Kinpritma

Abstract

We measure the benefit to society created by preventing COVID-19 deaths through a marginal increase in early social distancing. We exploit county-level rainfall on the last weekend before statewide lockdown in the early phase of the pandemic. After controlling for historical rainfall, temperature, and state fixed-effects, current rainfall is a plausibly exogenous instrument for social distancing. A one percent decrease in the population leaving home on the weekend before lockdown creates an average of 132 dollars of benefit per county resident within 2 weeks. The impacts of earlier distancing compound over time and mainly arise from lowering the risk of a major outbreak, yielding large but unevenly distributed social benefit.

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  • Shenoy, Ajay & Sharma, Bhavyaa & Xu, Guanghong & Kapoor, Rolly & Rho, Haedong Aiden & Sangha, Kinpritma, 2022. "God is in the rain: The impact of rainfall-induced early social distancing on COVID-19 outbreaks," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3jr4k0cm, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt3jr4k0cm
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    Cited by:

    1. Herby, Jonas & Jonung, Lars & Hanke, Steve, 2022. "A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality," Studies in Applied Economics 200, The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.
    2. Zhuang, Maiting & Garz , Marcel, 2022. "Media coverage and pandemic behaviour: Evidence from Sweden," SITE Working Paper Series 61, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics.
    3. Garz, Marcel & Zhuang, Maiting, 2022. "Media coverage and pandemic behaviour: Evidence from Sweden," Misum Working Paper Series 2022-9, Stockholm School of Economics, Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics; Policy and Administration; Applied Economics; Human Society; Prevention; COVID-19; Communicable Disease Control; Disease Outbreaks; Humans; Physical Distancing; Rain; SARS-CoV-2; Coronavirus; Social distancing; Rainfall; coronavirus; social distancing; rainfall; Public Health and Health Services; Econometrics; Health Policy & Services; Applied economics; Policy and administration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare

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