Shelter-in-place policies reduce social contact and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Inconsistent compliance with social distancing creates local and regional interpersonal transmission risks. Using county-day measures on population movement derived from cellphone location data, we investigate whether compliance with local shelter-in-place ordinances varies across US counties with different economic endowments. Our theoretical model implies poverty will reduce compliance with social distancing. We find evidence that low income areas comply less than counties with stronger economic endowments. Findings suggest targeted economic relief could improve future compliance.

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