Exiting from Lockdowns: Early Evidence from Reopenings in Europe

Author/Editor:

Jeffrey R. Franks ; Bertrand Gruss ; Carlos Mulas-Granados ; Manasa Patnam ; Sebastian Weber

Publication Date:

October 21, 2020

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Summary:

European authorities introduced stringent lockdown measures in early 2020 to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. As the first wave of infection curves flattened and the outbreak appeared controlled, most countries started to reopen their economies albeit using diverse strategies. This paper introduces a novel daily database of sectoral reopening measures in Europe during the first-wave and documents that country plans differed significantly in terms of timing, pace, and sequencing of sectoral reopening measures. We then show that reopenings led to a recovery in mobility—a proxy for economic activity—but at the cost of somewhat higher infections. However, the experience with reopening reveals some original dimensions of this trade-off. First, the increase in COVID-19 infections after reopening appears less severe in fatality rates. Second, a given reopening step is associated with a worse reinfection outcome in countries that started reopening earlier on the infection curve or that opened all sectors at a fast pace in a relatively short time. Finally, while opening measures tend to have an amplification effect on subsequent cases when a large fraction of the economy is already open, this effect appears heterogenous across sectors.

Series:

Working Paper No. 2020/218

Frequency:

regular

English

Publication Date:

October 21, 2020

ISBN/ISSN:

9781513559704/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2020218

Format:

Paper

Pages:

33

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