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Unequal response to mobility restrictions: evidence from COVID-19 lockdown in the city of Bogotá

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-29, 13:00 authored by David Castells-Quintana, Paula Herrera-Idárraga, Luis E. Quintero, Guillermo Sinisterra

We study the effectiveness of the mobility restrictions imposed by governments to curb urban mobility. We use mobile phone-tracked movements to determine whether users left their homes and explore the role of socio-economic differences across neighbourhoods in explaining their unequal response to lockdown measures. We rely on novel data showing changes in movements in highly disaggregated spatial units in Bogotá, Colombia, before and during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, matched with data on socio-economic characteristics and data on non-pharmaceutical interventions implemented in the period of analysis. We find that the general lockdown imposed in the city significantly reduced mobility (by about 41 percentage points). When looking at the unequal response across locations, we find that low-income areas, with higher population density, informality and overcrowding, reacted less to mobility restrictions.


David Castells-Quintana gratefully acknowledges the support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation [grant numbers PID 2019-104723RB-100 and PID2020-118800GB-100, and the Catalan Agency for Management of University and Research Grants [grant number 2017SGR1301].


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