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Nonlinear effects of mobility on COVID-19 in the US: targeted lockdowns based on income and poverty

Hakan Yilmazkuday (Department of Economics, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 5 April 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates nonlinearities in the relationship between mobility and COVID-19 cases or deaths based on demographic or socioeconomic characteristics, with a special focus on income and poverty.

Design/methodology/approach

The formal analysis is achieved by using county-level daily data from the US, where a difference-in-difference design is employed. Nonlinearities in the relationship between mobility and COVID-19 cases or deaths are investigated by regressing weekly percentage changes in COVID-19 cases or deaths on mobility measures, where county fixed effects and daily fixed effects are controlled for. The main innovation is achieved by distinguishing between the coefficients in front of mobility measures across US counties based on their demographic or socioeconomic characteristics.

Findings

The results suggest that the positive effects of mobility on COVID-19 cases increase with poverty, per capita income, commuting time or population, whereas they decrease with health insurance or grandparents responsible for grandchildren.

Originality/value

Important policy implications follow regarding where mobility restrictions would work better to fight against COVID-19 through targeted lockdowns.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank the editor, Almas Heshmati, and three anonymous referees for their helpful comments and suggestions. The author is also grateful for the Kimberly Green Faculty Fellowship and the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs for their continuous support.

Citation

Yilmazkuday, H. (2022), "Nonlinear effects of mobility on COVID-19 in the US: targeted lockdowns based on income and poverty", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JES-11-2021-0596

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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