Frivillig anpassning eller tvingande restriktioner?
Överdödligheten, pandemibekämpningen och den ekonomiska utvecklingen i Europa under 2020
Voluntary or mandatory restrictions? Excess death rates, pandemic control and economic development in Europe during 2020.
To reduce the spread of the Covid19 virus, governments have imposed far reaching restrictions on citizens’ mobility. These restrictions are associated with large social, economic, and democratic costs. In this article, I discuss whether it is possible to limit the economic costs by relying more on voluntary than mandated social distancing without causing the excess death rate to increase significantly. Based on data from Europe during 2020, I show that i) voluntary social distancing is higher in places with large infection rates, ii) the marginal benefit of additional restrictions on the excess death rate is small, and iii) the economic cost increases rapidly with additional restrictions. I conclude that the importance of voluntary social distancing should not be underestimated. More voluntary than mandatory social distancing may reduce the economic costs without increasing the excess death rate.