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August 2, 2020

Devastating Cost of Failure to Coordinate Economic Re-openings; Immediate need for a Coordinated Policy across States, Regions, and Nations around the world — says MIT Study.

MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan, Crowd

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 30, 2020 — MIT Social Analytics Lab has published new, peer-reviewed research. The research shows the devastating cost of the chaotic and uncoordinated reopening of states and cities across the U.S. The study uses data from mobile phones and network connections through social media and census data. It estimates that total welfare gets dramatically reduced when reopening is not coordinated among states and regions.

For example, the study showed that the policies and behaviors of people in other, sometimes distant areas significantly influence the contact patterns of people in a given region. When states fail to coordinate significant spillovers, total welfare is reduced by almost 70 percent.

As federal, state, and local governments continue opening businesses and relaxing shelter-in-place orders nationwide, policymakers are doing so without quantitative evidence on how policies in one region affect mobility and social distancing in other areas. And while some states are coordinating on COVID policy at the level of “mega-regions,” most, unfortunately, are not. This lack of coordination will have devastating effects on efforts to control COVID-19, according to the study.

“There have been many calls for a coordinated national pandemic response in the U.S. and around the world, but little hard evidence has quantified this need,” said Sinan Aral, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a corresponding author of the study. “When we analyzed the data, we were shocked by the degree to which state policies affected outcomes in other states, sometimes at great distances. Travel and social influence over digital media make this pandemic much more interdependent than we originally thought. Our results suggest an immediate need for a nationally coordinated policy across states, regions, and nations around the world,” he added.

Governors from all states and territories will convene virtually for the Summer meeting of The National Governor’s Association on August 5. The MIT study assesses the impact of an uncoordinated reopening and gives governors a map to coordinate in the absence of national guidance. The research done for all fifty states shows which regions affect each other the most and maps the areas that should be coordinating. These maps are sometimes surprising because, as a result of digital social media, each state’s success with social distancing gets impacted by the policy decisions of geographically proximate states and socially connected, but geographically distant lands. For instance, Florida’s social distancing was most affected by New York implementing a shelter-in-place policy due to social media influence and travel between the states, despite their physical distance. New Hampshire had a substantial impact on adjacent Massachusetts, despite being a small state.

As the Governor’s Association convenes, this research highlights the need for states across the country to coordinate, even if they are not near one another. The results suggest which regions should be coordinating with which other states based on the strength of the spillovers between them.

Source: MIT Sloan School of Management


— The editor holds a certificate from the MIT Teaching Systems Lab. StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by the Editor | 10:37 AM | Link to this Post

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