Stanford University


Interdependence and the Cost of Uncoordinated Responses to COVID-19

David Holtz

Michael Zhao

Cathy Y. Cao

Mohammad Amin Rahimian

Jeremy Yang

Jennifer Allen

Tara Sowrirajan

Dipayan Ghosh

Yunhao Zhang

Paramveer S. Dhillon

Dean Eckles

Sinan Aral

Christos Nicolaides

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
August 18, 2020

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As local governments relax shelter-in-place orders worldwide, policymakers lack evidence on how policies in one region affect mobility and social distancing in other regions and the consequences of uncoordinated regional policies adopted in the presence of such spillovers. Our analysis suggests the contact patterns of people in one region are significantly influenced by the policies and behaviors of people in other, sometimes distant, regions. When just one-third of a state’s social and geographic peer states adopt shelter-in-place policies, it creates a reduction in mobility equal to the state’s own policy decisions, highlighting the need for national coordination. The paper gives governors a roadmap for coordination in the absence of national leadership and applies globally to other regions lacking coordination.

Stanford University