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The spread of COVID-19 in London: network effects and optimal lockdowns

Julliard, Christian, Shi, Ran and Yuan, Kathy (2020) The spread of COVID-19 in London: network effects and optimal lockdowns. Systemic Risk Centre Discussion Papers (104). Systemic Risk Centre, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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We generalise a stochastic version of the workhorse SIR (Susceptible-Infectious- Removed) epidemiological model to account for spatial dynamics generated by network interactions. Using the London metropolitan area as a salient case study, we show that commuter network externalities account for about 42% of the propagation of COVID-19. We find that the UK lockdown measure reduced total propagation by 57%, with more than one third of the effect coming from the reduction in network externalities. Counterfactual analyses suggest that: i) the lockdown was somehow late, but further delay would have had more extreme consequences; ii) a targeted lockdown of a small number of highly connected geographic regions would have been equally effective, arguably with significantly lower economic costs; iii) targeted lockdowns based on threshold number of cases are not effective, since they fail to account for network externalities.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s)
Divisions: Finance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I12 - Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Suicide, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C3 - Econometric Methods: Multiple; Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables; Endogenous Regressors > C31 - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C5 - Econometric Modeling > C51 - Model Construction and Estimation
D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D85 - Network Formation and Analysis: Theory
Date Deposited: 22 May 2023 16:12
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2023 00:00

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