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Voluntary and Mandatory Social Distancing: Evidence on COVID-19 Exposure Rates from Chinese Provinces and Selected Countries
This paper considers a modification of the standard Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) model of epidemics that allows for different degrees of compulsory as well as voluntary social distancing. It is shown that the fraction of the population that self-isolates varies with the perceived probability of contracting the disease. Implications of social distancing both on the epidemic and recession curves are investigated and their trade off is simulated under a number of different social distancing and economic participation scenarios. We show that mandating social distancing is very effective ...
A New Tool for Robust Estimation and Identification of Unusual Data Points
Most consistent estimators are what Müller (2007) terms “highly fragile”: prone to total breakdown in the presence of a handful of unusual data points. This compromises inference. Robust estimation is a (seldom-used) solution, but commonly used methods have drawbacks. In this paper, building on methods that are relatively unknown in economics, we provide a new tool for robust estimates of mean and covariance, useful both for robust estimation and for detection of unusual data points. It is relatively fast and useful for large data sets. Our performance testing indicates that our baseline ...