Welfare costs of COVID-19: Evidence from US counties

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Using daily US county-level data on consumption, employment, mobility, and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, this paper investigates the welfare costs of COVID-19. The investigation is achieved by using implications of a model, where there is a trade-off between consumption and COVID-19 cases that are both determined by the optimal mobility decision of individuals. The empirical results show evidence for about 11% of an average (across days) reduction of welfare during the sample period between February and December 2020 for the average county. There is also evidence for heterogeneous welfare costs across US counties and days, where certain counties have experienced welfare reductions up to 46 % on average across days and up to 97 % in late March 2020 that are further connected to the socioeconomic characteristics of the US counties.



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