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The effect of compulsory face mask policies on community mobility in Germany

Kovacs, Roxanne J., Dunaiski, Maurice and Tukiainen, Janne (2023) The effect of compulsory face mask policies on community mobility in Germany. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 125 (4). 1027 - 1055. ISSN 0347-0520

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Identification Number: 10.1111/sjoe.12537


There is an ongoing debate about face masks being made compulsory in public spaces to contain COVID-19. A key concern is that such policies could undermine efforts to maintain social distancing and reduce mobility. We provide first evidence on the impact of compulsory face mask policies on community mobility. We exploit the staggered implementation of policies by German states during the first wave of the pandemic and measure mobility using geo-located smartphone data. We find that compulsory face mask policies led to a short-term reduction in community mobility, with no significant medium-term effects. We can rule out even small increases in mobility.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Government
School of Public Policy
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Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D9 - Intertemporal Choice and Growth > D90 - General
H - Public Economics > H1 - Structure and Scope of Government > H10 - General
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
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2023 10:24
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 19:42

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