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Decomposing the Role of Mobility Restrictions in Controlling COVID-19 Outcomes: A Regional Level Study of the Philippines

This paper aims to explore empirically, using vector autoregression (VAR) analysis and weekly regional data for the 17 Philippine regions, the interactions between the Covid-19 pandemic, economic mobility, and containment policy. The authors conclude that COVID-19 deaths and incidence primarily respond to shocks that affect the lethality and transmissibility of the disease, and mobility restrictions and strict quarantine levels do not seem to have any impact on these outcomes. The movement of people during this pandemic period, on the other hand, seem to respond more to economic factors and government restrictions and less to the presence of and the characteristics of the disease. Since the pandemic is a public bad, community cooperation is a must to address it. Clear government messaging that dispels doubts on the safety of the newly developed vaccines and that encourages public acceptance and trust might be a better nudge compared to a heavy-handed and threatening approach.


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