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Learning Epidemiology by Doing: The Empirical Implications of a Spatial SIR Model with Behavioral Responses

Bisin, Alberto and Moro, Andrea (2020): Learning Epidemiology by Doing: The Empirical Implications of a Spatial SIR Model with Behavioral Responses.

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Abstract

We simulate a spatial behavioral model of the diffusion of an infection to understand the role of geographical characteristics: the number and distribution of outbreaks, population size, density, and agents' movements. We show that several invariance properties of the SIR model with respect to these variables do not hold when agents are placed in a (two dimensional ) geographical space. Indeed, local herd immunity plays a fundamental role in changing the dynamics of the infection. We also show that geographical factors affect how behavioral responses affect the epidemics. We derive relevant implications for the estimation of epidemiological models with panel data from several geographical units.

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