The Economic Consequences of Stay-at-Home Orders in the COVID-19 Crisis

A new GLO Discussion Paper studies COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in the United States and their consequences for infections, deaths, employment, wages, tax revenues and hospital costs.

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GLO Discussion Paper No. 559, 2020

COVID-19, Stay-at-Home Orders and Employment: Evidence from CPS DataDownload PDF
Beland, Louis-Philippe & Brodeur, Abel & Wright, Taylor

GLO Fellows Louis-Philippe Beland & Abel Brodeur

Author Abstract: In this paper, we examine the short-term consequences of COVID-19 and evaluate the impacts of stay-at-home orders on employment and wages in the United States. Guided by a pre-analysis plan, we document that COVID-19 increased the unemployment rate, decreased hours of work and labor force participation, especially for younger workers, non-white, not married and less-educated workers. We built four indexes (exposure to disease, proximity to coworkers, work remotely and critical workers) to study the impact of COVID-19. We find that workers that can work remotely are significantly less likely to have their labor market outcomes affected, while workers working in proximity to coworkers are more affected. The unemployment effects are significantly larger for states that implemented stay-at-home orders. Our estimates suggest that, as of early May, these policies increased unemployment by nearly 4 percentage points, but reduced COVID-19 cases by 186,600-311,000, and deaths by 17,851-23,325. We apply our estimates to compute lost income ($18.6-$21.4 billion), reduced government income tax revenues ($3.4-$5.5 billion), increased unemployment insurance benefit payments ($5-$5.8 billion) and reduced hospital costs ($0.7-$1.2 billion). Despite the jobs lost, age adjusted value of statistical life suggests that stay-at-home orders are cost effective.

The Journal of Population Economics welcomes submissions dealing with the demographic aspects of the Coronavirus Crisis.

Yun Qiu, Xi Chen & Wei Shi (2020): Impacts of Social and Economic Factors on the Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China, GLO Discussion Paper, No. 494.
REVISED DRAFT NOW PUBLISHED OPEN ACCESS ONLINE: Journal of Population Economics, Issue 4, 2020.

Further publication on COVID-19 of a GLO DP:
GLO Discussion Paper No. 508, 2020
Inter-country Distancing, Globalization and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Download PDF
Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Karabulut, Gokhan & Bilgin, Mehmet Huseyin & Doker, Asli Cansin is now forthcoming OPEN ACCESS in The World Economy doi:10.1111/twec.12969 PREPUBLICATION VERSION

More from the GLO Coronavirus Cluster

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


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