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Face Masks Considerably Reduce COVID-19 Cases in Germany: A Synthetic Control Method Approach

Author

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  • Mitze, Timo

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Kosfeld, Reinhold

    (University of Kassel)

  • Rode, Johannes

    (Darmstadt University of Technology)

  • Wälde, Klaus

    (University of Mainz)

Abstract

We use the synthetic control method to analyze the effect of face masks on the spread of Covid-19 in Germany. Our identification approach exploits regional variation in the point in time when face masks became compulsory. Depending on the region we analyse, we find that face masks reduced the cumulative number of registered Covid-19 cases between 2.3% and 13% over a period of 10 days after they became compulsory. Assessing the credibility of the various estimates, we conclude that face masks reduce the daily growth rate of reported infections by around 40%.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitze, Timo & Kosfeld, Reinhold & Rode, Johannes & Wälde, Klaus, 2020. "Face Masks Considerably Reduce COVID-19 Cases in Germany: A Synthetic Control Method Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 13319, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13319
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timo Mitze & Reinhold Kosfeld & Johannes Rode & Klaus Wälde, 2020. "Face Masks Considerably Reduce Covid-19 Cases in Germany - A Synthetic Control Method Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 8479, CESifo.
    2. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
    3. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    4. Jean Roch Donsimoni & René Glawion & Bodo Plachter & Constantin Weiser & Klaus Wälde, 2020. "Should Contact Bans Be Lifted in Germany? A Quantitative Prediction of Its Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 8242, CESifo.
    5. Noémi Kreif & Richard Grieve & Dominik Hangartner & Alex James Turner & Silviya Nikolova & Matt Sutton, 2016. "Examination of the Synthetic Control Method for Evaluating Health Policies with Multiple Treated Units," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(12), pages 1514-1528, December.
    6. Jean Roch Donsimoni & René Glawion & Bodo Plachter & Constantin Weiser & Klaus Wälde, 2020. "Should Contact Bans Be Lifted in Germany? A Quantitative Prediction of Its Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 8242, CESifo.
    7. Timo Mitze & Reinhold Kosfeld & Johannes Rode & Klaus Wälde, 2020. "Face Masks Considerably Reduce Covid-19 Cases in Germany - A Synthetic Control Method Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 8479, CESifo.
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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Health > Distancing and Lockdown > Effect on Health

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Flaschel & Giorgos Galanis & Daniele Tavani & Roberto Veneziani, 2021. "Pandemics and Aggregate Demand: a Framework for Policy Analysis," Working Papers PKWP2101, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    2. Guimarães, Luís, 2021. "Antibody tests: They are more important than we thought," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C).
    3. Daniel H. Cooper & Vaishali Garga & Maria Jose Luengo-Prado & Jenny Tang, 2020. "The Roles of Mobility and Masks in the Spread of COVID-19," Current Policy Perspectives 89224, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    4. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Charles I. Jones, 2020. "Macroeconomic Outcomes and COVID-19: A Progress Report," NBER Working Papers 28004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Seres, Gyula & Balleyer, Anna & Cerutti, Nicola & Friedrichsen, Jana & Süer, Müge, 2020. "Face mask use and physical distancing before and after mandatory masking: Evidence from public waiting lines," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2020-305, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    6. Balázs Égert & Yvan Guillemette & Murtin Fabrice & David Turner, 2021. "Walking the Tightrope: Avoiding a Lockdown While Containing the Virus," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 22(03), pages 34-40, May.
    7. Alexander Dietrich & Edward S. Knotek & Gernot J. Muller & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Raphael Schoenle & Michael Weber, 2020. "Consumers and COVID-19: Survey Results on Mask-Wearing Behaviors and Beliefs," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, vol. 2020(20), pages 1-7, July.
    8. Greg Kaplan & Benjamin Moll & Giovanni L. Violante, 2020. "The Great Lockdown and the Big Stimulus: Tracing the Pandemic Possibility Frontier for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 27794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Klaus Wälde, 2020. "How to remove the testing bias in CoV-2 statistics," Working Papers 2021, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    10. Roy Cerqueti & Raffaella Coppier & Alessandro Girardi & Marco Ventura, 2021. "The sooner the better: lives saved by the lockdown during the COVID-19 outbreak. The case of Italy," Papers 2101.11901, arXiv.org.
    11. Benjamin Born & Alexander M Dietrich & Gernot J Müller, 2021. "The lockdown effect: A counterfactual for Sweden," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(4), pages 1-13, April.
    12. Martin Huber & Henrika Langen, 2020. "Timing matters: the impact of response measures on COVID-19-related hospitalization and death rates in Germany and Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 156(1), pages 1-19, December.
    13. Peter Flaschel & Giorgos Galanis & Daniele Tavani & Roberto Veneziani, 2021. "Pandemics and Aggregate Demand: a Framework for Policy Analysis," Working Papers PKWP2025, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    14. Timo Mitze & Reinhold Kosfeld & Johannes Rode & Klaus Wälde, 2020. "Face Masks Considerably Reduce Covid-19 Cases in Germany - A Synthetic Control Method Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 8479, CESifo.
    15. Léa BOU SLEIMAN & Germain GAUTHIER, 2020. "COVID-19: Reduced forms have gone viral, but what do they tell us?," Working Papers 2020-32, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics, revised 18 Jan 2021.
    16. Zhen Zhu & Enzo Weber & Till Strohsal & Duaa Serhan, 2020. "Sustainable Border Control Policy in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Math Modeling Study," Papers 2008.13561, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2021.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19; public health measures; face masks; synthetic control method; Germany;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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