Research / BFI Working PaperApr 20, 2021

The impact of domestic travel bans on COVID-19 is nonlinear in their duration

Fiona Burlig, Anant Sudarshan, Garrison Schlauch

Domestic mobility restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 are widespread in developing countries, and have trapped millions of migrant workers in hotspot cities. We show that bans can increase cumulative infections relative to a counterfactual san restrictions. A SEIR model shows bans’ impacts are nonlinear in duration. We empirically test this hypothesis using a natural experiment in India as well as data from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa, and Kenya. Although very short and long restrictions limit the spread of disease, moderately lengthy restrictions substantially increase infections. This suggests significant caution before imposing mobility restrictions in developing countries.

Additional Materials

More Research From These Scholars

BFI Working Paper Jan 3, 2022

Blackouts in the Developing World: The Role of Wholesale Electricity Markets

Akshaya Jha, Louis Preonas, Fiona Burlig
Topics:  Energy & Environment
BFI Working Paper Feb 25, 2024

Long-Range Forecasts as Climate Adaptation: Experimental Evidence from Developing-Country Agriculture

Fiona Burlig, Amir Jina, Erin M. Kelley, Gregory Lane, Harshil Sahai
Topics:  Energy & Environment
BFI Working Paper Sep 9, 2019

Panel Data and Experimental Design

Fiona Burlig, Louis Preonas, Matt Woerman
Topics:  Energy & Environment