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Urban density and Covid-19

Author

Listed:
  • Carozzi, Felipe
  • Provenzano, Sandro
  • Roth, Sefi

Abstract

This paper estimates the link between population density and COVID-19 spread and severity in the contiguous United States. To overcome confounding factors, we use two Instrumental Variable (IV) strategies that exploit geological features and historical populations to induce exogenous variation in population density without affecting COVID-19 cases and deaths directly. We find that density has affected the timing of the outbreak, with denser locations more likely to have an early outbreak. However, we find no evidence that population density is positively associated with time-adjusted COVID-19 cases and deaths. Using data from Google, Facebook, the US Census and The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, we also investigate several possible mechanisms for our findings. We show that population density can affect the timing of outbreaks through higher connectedness of denser locations. Furthermore, we find that population density is positively associated with proxies for social distancing measures, access to healthcare and income, highlighting the importance of these mediating factors in containing the outbreak.

Suggested Citation

  • Carozzi, Felipe & Provenzano, Sandro & Roth, Sefi, 2020. "Urban density and Covid-19," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108484, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:108484
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/108484/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Covid-19; density; congestion forces; coronavirus; ES/P000622/1;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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