THE INDIVIDUAL WELFARE COSTS OF STAY-AT-HOME POLICIES
This paper reports the results of a choice experiment designed to estimate the private welfare costs of stay-at-home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is conducted on a large and representative sample of the Swedish population. The results suggest that the welfare cost of a one-month stay-at-home policy, restricting non-working hours away from home, amounts to 9.1 percent of qSweden's monthly GDP. The cost can be interpreted as 29,600 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), which roughly corresponds to between 3,700 and 8,000 COVID-19 fatalities. Moreover, we find that stricter and longer lockdowns are disproportionately more costly than more lenient ones. This result indicates that strict stay-at-home policies are likely to be cost-effective only if they slow the spread of the disease much more than more lenient ones.
JEL classifications: D62, I18
Working Papers in Economics