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New TPI Event Video: Social Distancing, Internet Access and Inequality During Coronavirus (MIT Study)


QUESTION: What do you find when you track 20 million mobile devices and their movements across physical locations to see whether people leave their homes for work during the coronavirus?

ANSWER (according to a new study by MIT Sloan’s Catherine Tucker): The roles of income and diffusion of high-speed internet on people’s ability to self-isolate at home during the pandemic—in one word, inequality.

Watch the video of the Technology Policy Institute’s April 16 discussion with Professor Tucker, the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management at MIT, on her new paper, Social Distancing, Internet Access and Inequality. The event is moderated by TPI President and Senior Fellow Scott Wallsten.

“We show that while income is correlated with differences in the ability to stay at home, the unequal diffusion of high-speed Internet in homes across regions drives much of this observed income effect,” writes Tucker in the study’s abstract. “Devices in regions with either high-income or high-speed Internet are less likely to leave their homes after such a directive.”


Press Contact: David Fish, 571-389-4446, dfish@techpolicyinstitute.org

The Technology Policy Institute

The Technology Policy Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. More information is available at www.techpolicyinstitute.org/.