COVID-19 Quarantine Fatigue in California: How Does the Quarantine Fatigue Effect Differ by Income?

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Harsh, mandatory restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 are difficult to comply with and may lose their effectiveness over time. Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income populations, it is important to evaluate how the effectiveness of COVID-19 restrictions changes over time, particularly for low-income populations. This study looks at changes in social distancing over time in the state of California. After categorizing COVID-19 restrictions in California into levels of different severity, this paper uses linear regression analysis to determine how much additional social distancing is associated with more severe COVID-19 restrictions. This study then tracks these values over time between low-income, middle-income, and high-income California counties. The results show that severe COVID-19 restrictions lose their effectiveness over time, relative to more moderate restrictions, providing evidence for the quarantine fatigue effect. This effect was found in low-income, middle-income, and high-income counties, but low-income counties experienced this effect at a faster rate than high-income counties. This is likely driven in large part by the inability for many low-wage, high-risk essential workers to work remotely. Therefore, more targeted interventions that address the specific needs of low-income populations are necessary.


Type of resource text
Date created [ca. May 5, 2021]


Author Lee, Max
Advisor Bhattacharya, Jayanta
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Public Policy Program


Subject Stanford University
Subject Humanities and Sciences
Subject Public Policy Program
Subject COVID-19
Subject prevalence elasticity
Subject California
Subject stay-at-home
Subject quarantine fatigue
Genre Thesis

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User agrees that, where applicable, content will not be used to identify or to otherwise infringe the privacy or confidentiality rights of individuals. Content distributed via the Stanford Digital Repository may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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Lee, Max and Bhattacharya, Jayanta. (5/5/). COVID-19 Quarantine Fatigue in California: How Does the Quarantine Fatigue Effect Differ by Income?. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


Stanford University, Public Policy Program, Undergraduate Honors Theses and Practicum Projects

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