A First Literature Review: Lockdowns Only Had a Small Effect on COVID-19 – SSRN

How important were the economic lockdowns in the spring of 2020 in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic and how important was lockdown as compared to voluntary changes in behavior? In the spring, the overall social response to the COVID-19 pandemic consisted of a mix of voluntary and government mandated behavioral changes. Voluntary behavioral changes occurred on the basis of information, such as the number of people infected and the number of COVID-19-deaths, and on the basis of the signal value associated with the official lockdown combined with appeals to the population to change its behavior. Mandated behavioral changes took place as a result of the banning of certain activities deemed non-essential. Studies which differentiate between the two types of behavioral change find that, on average, mandated behavioral changes accounts for only 9% (median: 0%) of the total effect on the growth of the pandemic stemming from behavioral changes. The remaining 91% (median: 100%) of the effect was due to voluntary behavioral changes. This is excluding the effect of curfew and facemasks, which were not employed in all countries.