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Japan’s Voluntary Lockdown

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  • Tsutomu Watanabe

    (Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo)

  • Tomoyoshi Yabu

    (Faculty of Business and Commerce, Keio University.)

Abstract

Japan’s government has taken a number of measures, including declaring a state of emergency, to combat the spread COVID-19. We examine the mechanisms through which the government’s policies have led to changes in people’s behavior. Using smartphone location data, we construct a daily prefecture-level stay-at-home measure to identify the following two effects: (1) the effect that citizens refrained from going out in line with the government’s request, and (2) the effect that government announcements reinforced awareness with regard to the seriousness of the pandemic and people voluntarily refrained from going out. Our main findings are as follows. First, the declaration of the state of emergency reduced the number of people leaving their homes by 8.6% through the first channel, which is of the same order of magnitude as the estimate by Goolsbee and Syverson (2020) for lockdowns in the United States. Second, a 1% increase in new infections in a prefecture reduces people’s outings in that prefecture by 0.026%. Third, the government’s requests are responsible for about one quarter of the decrease in outings in Tokyo, while the remaining three quarters are the result of citizens obtaining new information through government announcements and the daily release of the number of infections. Our results suggest that what is necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 is not strong, legally binding measures but the provision of appropriate information that encourages people to change their behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Tsutomu Watanabe & Tomoyoshi Yabu, 2020. "Japan’s Voluntary Lockdown," Working Papers on Central Bank Communication 027, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:upd:utmpwp:027
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    Cited by:

    1. Honda, Tomohito & Uesugi, Iichiro, 2021. "COVID-19 and Precautionary Corporate Cash Holdings: Evidence from Japan," RCESR Discussion Paper Series DP21-2, Research Center for Economic and Social Risks, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. 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.
    3. Tsutomu Watanabe & Yuki Omori, 2021. "Online Consumption During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Japan," Working Papers on Central Bank Communication 035, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.
    4. Stefano Castriota & Marco Delmastro & Mirco Tonin, 2020. "National or Local? The Demand for News in Italy during COVID-19," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS74, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    5. Daisuke Fujii & Taisuke Nakata, 2021. "COVID-19 and output in Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(4), pages 609-650, October.
    6. YAMAMURA, Eiji & Tsutsui, Yoshiro, 2020. "Impact of closing schools on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence using panel data from Japan," MPRA Paper 105023, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Shibamoto, Masahiko & Hayaki, Shoka & Ogisu, Yoshitaka, 2022. "COVID-19 infection spread and human mobility," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    8. F. Yudhi Priyo Amboro, 2021. "The Corporate Rescue for Companies during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Indonesia: Prospects for the Concept of Deeds of Arrangement and Administration Order," Technium Social Sciences Journal, Technium Science, vol. 23(1), pages 385-400, September.
    9. Tsutomu Watanabe & Tomoyoshi Yabu, 2021. "Japan’s voluntary lockdown: further evidence based on age-specific mobile location data," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 333-370, July.
    10. Mitsuhiro Fukao & Etsuro Shioji, 2022. "Is There a Trade‐Off between COVID‐19 Control and Economic Activity? Implications from the Phillips Curve Debate," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 17(1), pages 66-85, January.
    11. Michiru Kaneda & So Kubota & Satoshi Tanaka, 2021. "Who spent their COVID-19 stimulus payment? Evidence from personal finance software in Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 409-437, July.
    12. Ralf Bebenroth, 2021. "Adjustment of Expatriates' Work Practices during the Covid-19 Pandemic," Discussion Paper Series DP2021-13, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Mar 2022.
    13. Kazufumi Tsuboi & Naoya Fujiwara & Ryo Itoh, 2022. "Influence of trip distance and population density on intra-city mobility patterns in Tokyo during COVID-19 pandemic," Papers 2201.01398, arXiv.org.
    14. Satoshi Tanaka, 2022. "Economic Impacts of SARS/MERS/COVID‐19 in Asian Countries," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 17(1), pages 41-61, January.
    15. So Kubota, 2021. "The macroeconomics of COVID-19 exit strategy: the case of Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(4), pages 651-682, October.
    16. Junichi Kikuchi & Ryoya Nagao & Yoshiyuki Nakazono, 2021. "Fear of COVID-19 Contagion: The Idiosyncratic Effects of an Aggregate Pandemic Shock," ISER Discussion Paper 1144, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    17. Tsutomu Watanabe & Yuki Omori, 2021. "Online Consumption During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Japan," CARF F-Series CARF-F-524, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    18. Hosono, Kaoru, 2021. "Epidemic and Economic Consequences of Voluntary and Request-based Lockdowns in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    19. Kohei Matsumura & Yusuke Oh & Tomohiro Sugo & Koji Takahashi, "undated". "Nowcasting Economic Activity with Mobility Data," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 21-E-2, Bank of Japan.

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