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Urban density and COVID-19: understanding the US experience

Carozzi, Felipe, Provenzano, Sandro and Roth, Sefi (2022) Urban density and COVID-19: understanding the US experience. Annals of Regional Science. ISSN 0570-1864

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s00168-022-01193-z

Abstract

This paper revisits the debate around the link between population density and the severity of COVID-19 spread in the United States. We do so by conducting an empirical analysis based on graphical evidence, regression analysis and instrumental variable strategies borrowed from the agglomeration literature. Studying the period between the start of the epidemic and the beginning of the vaccination campaign at the end of 2020, we find that the cross-sectional relationship between density and COVID-19 deaths changed as the year evolved. Initially, denser counties experienced more COVID-19 deaths. Yet, by December, the relationship between COVID deaths and urban density was completely flat. This is consistent with evidence indicating density affected the timing of the outbreak – with denser locations more likely to have an early outbreak – yet had no influence on time-adjusted COVID-19 cases and deaths. Using data from Google, Facebook, the US Census and other sources, we investigate potential mechanisms behind these findings.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I12 - Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Suicide, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2022 14:21
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 12:36
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/117261

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