Economics Seminar Series - Giovanni Mellace (University of Southern Denmark) | Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche

Economics Seminar Series - Giovanni Mellace (University of Southern Denmark)

4 May 2023 12:30 to 13:30
Aula 14, via dei Caniana
Seminari di dipartimento
Persona di riferimento: 
Marcello Puca (
Strutture interne organizzatrici: 
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche

"The Gray Zone: How Not Imposing a Strict Lockdown at the Beginning of a Pandemic Can Cost Many Lives"


The public debate on the effectiveness of lockdown measures is far from being settled. We estimate the impact of not having implemented a strict lockdown in the Bergamo province, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite observing an infection rate in this area similar to the one observed in nearby municipalities where a strict lockdown was instead promptly implemented. We estimate the causal effect of this policy decision on daily excess mortality using the synthetic control method (SCM). We find that about two-thirds of the reported deaths could have been avoided had the Italian government declared a Red Zone in the Bergamo province. We also clarify that, in this context, SCM and difference-in-differences implicitly restrict effect heterogeneity. We provide a way to empirically assess the credibility of this assumption in our setting.