DOI: 10.1093/cesifo/ifad013 ISSN: 1610-241X

A Lockdown a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: The Global Effectiveness of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions in Mitigating the Covid-19 Pandemic

Anthonin Levelu, Alexander Sandkamp
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Geography, Planning and Development


Countries have employed a variety of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in order to curtail the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the success of individual measures in reducing the number of infections remains controversial. This article exploits a panel dataset of 181 countries to estimate the effects of 12 NPIs on the spread of the disease in 2020. The employed fixed effects estimation greatly reduces endogeneity concerns. Estimated coefficients imply that while almost all measures had a dampening effect on the reproduction rate of the virus, school closings and restrictions on gatherings were most effective. The obligation to wear face masks was more effective during the second wave. Measures requiring significant resources, such as testing, were more effective in developed countries. (JEL codes: C13, C23, D04, and I18)

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