Do Stay-at-Home Orders Cause People to Stay at Home? Effects of Stay-at-Home Orders on Consumer Behavior
45 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2020 Last revised: 13 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 8, 2021
We link the county-level rollout of stay-at-home orders during the Covid-19 pandemic to anonymized cell phone records and consumer spending data. We document three patterns. First, stay-at-home orders caused people to stay home: county-level measures of mobility declined 7–8% within two days of when the stay-at-home order went into effect. Second, stay-at-home orders caused large reductions in spending in sectors associated with mobility: small businesses and large retail chains. Third, we estimate fairly uniform responses to stay-at-home orders across the country; effects do not vary by county-level income, political leanings, or urban/rural status.
Keywords: COVID-19, consumer spending, high-frequency data
JEL Classification: E21, I12, R2, R5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation