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The Role of Schools in Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Clara von Bismarck-Osten

    () (University College London)

  • Kirill Borusyak

    () (University College London and CEPR)

  • Uta Schönberg

    () (University College London, CReAM, IAB and RWI)

Abstract

This paper considers the role of school closures in the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To isolate the impact of the closures from other containment measures and identify a causal effect, we exploit variation in the start and end dates of the summer school and fall holiday across the 16 federal states in Germany. Leveraging a difference-in-differences design with staggered adoption, we show that neither the summer closures nor the closures in the fall have had any significant containing effect on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 among children or any spill-over effect on older generations. We also do not find any evidence that the return to school at full capacity after the summer holidays increased infections among children or adults. Instead, we find the number of children infected increased during the last weeks of the summer holiday and decreased in the first weeks after schools reopen, a pattern we attribute to travel returnees and increased testing.

Suggested Citation

  • Clara von Bismarck-Osten & Kirill Borusyak & Uta Schönberg, 2020. "The Role of Schools in Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Germany," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 2022, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:2022
    as

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    File URL: https://www.cream-migration.org/publ_uploads/CDP_22_20.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jérôme Adda, 2016. "Economic Activity and the Spread of Viral Diseases: Evidence from High Frequency Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 891-941.
    2. Sergio Correia & Paulo Guimarães & Tom Zylkin, 2020. "Fast Poisson estimation with high-dimensional fixed effects," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 20(1), pages 95-115, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Covid Economics; School Closures; Public Health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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