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Kentaro Fukumoto (Gakushuin University), Charles McClean (Harvard University), Kuninori Nakagawa (Shizuoka University), “Shut Down Schools, Knock Down the Virus?”

May 13 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am EDT

U.S. EDT: May 13 (Thu), 9 – 10 AM

JST: May 13 (Thurs), 10 – 11 PM

NOTE: Registration required! Link.


As COVID-19 spread in March 2020, most countries shut down schools in the hopes of slowing the pandemic. Since then, many countries have reopened schools, with varying degrees of success. Yet, we lack research that investigates the effectiveness of these policies in a systematic way. Our study aims to estimate the causal effects of school closures and reopenings on the number of coronavirus infections. To do so, we apply matching methods to municipal-level data in Japan. We find that school closures were not associated with a reduction in the spread of the coronavirus. Our results thus suggest that policies on school closures should be reexamined given the potential negative consequences for childhood learning and development.

Paper is available here.

Presenter: Kentaro Fukumoto (Gakushuin University).

Discussant: Kenneth Mori McElwain (University of Tokyo).

Chair: Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College).


May 13
9:00 am - 10:00 am EDT