Research / BFI Working PaperAug 26, 2020

COVID-19 Lockdown Policies at the State and Local Level

Austan Goolsbee, Nicole Bei Luo, Roxanne Nesbitt, Chad Syverson

This paper describes a new publicly available dataset on shutdown orders and related policies at the county and city level across the United States during the early part of the COVID-19 crisis, from March through May of 2020. In hundreds of counties around the country, local governments issued sheltering orders before their state did. Larger counties and counties with higher incidence of the disease and lower GOP vote shares were more likely to enact early sheltering policies. Basic analysis of the economic impact of the orders indicates that the county-level information is important and substantially more accurate than using state-level information alone.

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