Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 7 > Issue 3

Secret Erosion of the “Lockdown”? Patterns in Daily Activities during the SARS-Cov2 Pandemics around the World

Marc Oliver Rieger, University of Trier, Germany, , Mei Wang, WHU – Otto-Beisheim School of Management, Germany,
Suggested Citation
Marc Oliver Rieger and Mei Wang (2020), "Secret Erosion of the “Lockdown”? Patterns in Daily Activities during the SARS-Cov2 Pandemics around the World", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 7: No. 3, pp 223-235.

Publication Date: 10 Aug 2020
© 2020 M. O. Rieger and M. Wang
Health economics,  Collective action,  Public opinion,  Public policy,  Health care
JEL Codes: I12I18
Covid-19lockdownsocial distancingcompliance


Login to download a free copy
In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. Methodology 
3. Results 
4. Conclusions and Policy Suggestions 
Appendix: Additional material 


We measure trends in activity patterns during the “lockdown” of the COVID-19 pandemics, using the Apple Maps Mobility Trends Report, the Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports and data from a worldwide online survey with more than 100,000 participants. We focus on the months of March and April 2020, that is, a period where in most countries a “lockdown” took place that restricted social interactions and daily activities. While the Apple Maps data gives high quality data on planned trips, Google data gives high quality location data, and the survey supplements both with data on activity intention. We focus on a few countries with particularly good data coverage: France, Germany, UK and the US. Our key finding is that during this period in most of these countries already a significant re-increase of activities was visible. The increase in activity cannot be explained by relaxed regulations in the countries under study. While some of these activities are certainly unavoidable, we also measured an increase in less necessary activities, which should be taken into account when discussing policies for the containment of the pandemics. We also find strong differences in the relative importance of various activities across countries. This may provide policy makers with valuable information about what type of activities are most relevant to reduce for curtailing the pandemics.