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One of the defining features of the past 12 months has been lockdowns: government-mandated restrictions on economic activity, freedom of movement, and other spheres of life undertaken in the name of halting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. These lockdowns were, in a word, a radical solution to a radical problem. In observing the actual effect of these measures, a question has emerged. Do they work?
We talked through one way of understanding this question with Eduardo Levy Yeyati, dean of the school of government at Bueno Aires’s Torcuato di Tello University and a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings. He is also the coauthor of a recent paper examining data around lockdown effectiveness, and the conclusions he and his colleagues reached might surprise you.