Assessing the Impact of Business Closures on COVID-19 Outcomes


Xuequan Elsie Peng ; Chima Simpson-Bell

Publication Date:

July 15, 2022

Electronic Access:

Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

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.


In this paper, we present a framework for assessing the effectiveness of different business closure policies, using New York City as a case study. Business closure policies have been widely implemented in an attempt to slow down the pandemic, but it is difficult to measure the contribution of closures of specific industries to virus transmission. Our framework allows us to estimate the impact of specific industry closures on the spread of COVID-19 via their effects on aggregate mobility. We find that early reopening led to a prolonged pandemic and a large case surge in the second wave during 2020, though the reopening allowed the city to regain its economic function as a consumption hub. An alternative policy that extends the lockdown is found to be more cost-effective as it makes future traveling safer and prevents the economy from relapsing into a more stringent policy regime.


Working Paper No. 2022/139





Publication Date:

July 15, 2022



Stock No:




Please address any questions about this title to