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Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Mandated Business Closures in a Pandemic

Author

Listed:
  • Jean-Noël Barrot

    (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Basile Grassi

    (Bocconi University [Milan, Italy])

  • Julien Sauvagnat

    (TSE-R - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Typical government responses to pandemics involve social distancing measures designed to curb disease propagation. We evaluate the impact of state-mandated business closures in the context of the Covid-19 crisis in the US. Using state-level variations in the set of sectors forced to shut down, and within-state variations in local industry composition, we estimate the effects of business closures on infection and death rates. We find that locking down 10% of the labor force is associated with 0.017 and 0.0015 percentage points lower Covid-19 weekly infection and death rates. Business closures lead to significant declines in hours worked, and to large market value losses for affected firms. The findings translate into 29,000 saved lives for a cost of $169 billion.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Noël Barrot & Basile Grassi & Julien Sauvagnat, 2020. "Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Mandated Business Closures in a Pandemic," Working Papers hal-02896739, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-02896739
    DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3599482
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-hec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02896739
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    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Economic policy > Business support

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    Cited by:

    1. Dion Bongaerts & Francesco Mazzola & Wolf Wagner, 2021. "Closed for business: The mortality impact of business closures during the Covid-19 pandemic," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(5), pages 1-17, May.
    2. Leonardo Fabio Morales & Leonardo Bonilla‐Mejía & Jose Pulido & Luz A. Flórez & Didier Hermida & Karen L. Pulido‐Mahecha & Francisco Lasso‐Valderrama, 2022. "Effects of the COVID‐19 pandemic on the Colombian labour market: Disentangling the effect of sector‐specific mobility restrictions," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(S1), pages 308-357, February.
    3. Etienne Farvaque & Hira Iqbal & Nicolas Ooghe, 2020. "Health politics? Determinants of US states’ reactions to COVID-19," Post-Print hal-03128875, HAL.
    4. Anna Scherbina, 2021. "Assessing the Optimality of a COVID Lockdown in the United States," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 177-201, July.
    5. Ashraf, Badar Nadeem, 2020. "Economic impact of government interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic: International evidence from financial markets," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C).
    6. Avijit Bansal & Balagopal Gopalakrishnan & Joshy Jacob & Pranjal Srivastava, 2022. "Impact of operational fragility on stock returns: Lessons from COVID‐19 crisis," International Review of Finance, International Review of Finance Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 365-398, June.
    7. Giammanco, Maria Daniela & Gitto, Lara, 2020. "Government measures and economic activity during the COVID-19 outbreak: some preliminary short-term evidence from Europe," MPRA Paper 105072, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Lucia Svabova & Eva Nahalkova Tesarova & Marek Durica & Lenka Strakova, 2021. "Evaluation of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the development of the unemployment rate in Slovakia: counterfactual before-after comparison," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 16(2), pages 261-284, June.
    9. Baek, ChaeWon & McCrory, Peter B & Messer, Todd & Mui, Preston, 2020. "Unemployment Effects of Stay-at-Home Orders: Evidence from High Frequency Claims Data," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt042177j7, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business closures; Pandemic; Covid-19; Non-essential businesses;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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