Discussion Papers

No.800 Does Lockdown Policy Reduce Human Activity?

by Kazunobu Hayakawa, Souknilanh Keola

September 2020


In this study, we empirically investigate how much human economic and social activity was decreased by the implementation of lockdown policy during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We measure the magnitude of human activity using nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Our observations include daily NOx emissions in 173 countries between January 1 and July 31, 2020. Our findings can be summarized as follows. Lockdown policy significantly decreased NOx emissions in low-income countries during the policy as well as post-policy periods. In high-income countries, however, NOx emissions increased during both periods. It was also found that the absolute impact of the lockdown policy was larger during the post-policy period than during the policy period. While the stay-at-home policy reduced NOx emissions, we did not discover robust differences between regions in its effect.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Lockdown policy

JEL classification: F15, F53

Corrected on October 6, 2020

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