Take me out: De facto limits on strict lockdowns in developing countries

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July 2020
Paper author(s): 
Eduardo Levy Yeyati
Luca Sartorio
Education - Health
Macroeconomics - Economic growth - Monetary Policy

In the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and containment measures were a fundamental tool to control the spread of the virus. In this article, we analyze data from 120 countries seeking to assess the stringency of de jure lockdown policies, comparing them with their de facto compliance and empirically analyzing the determinants of social distancing noncompliance. We find that, from a de jure perspective, almost all the strictest and longest lockdowns took place in emerging or developing economies. However, when analyzing its de facto compliance, we document a generalized and increasing non-compliance over time, which is significantly higher in emerging and developing economies. We show that lockdown compliance declines with time, and is lower in countries with stricter quarantines, lower incomes and higher levels of labor precariousness.


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