Measuring Covid-19 restrictions in Italy during the second wave

The article entitled 'Measuring Covid-19 restrictions in Italy during the second wave', written by a researcher from the Bank of Italy, is now online.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, accurately measuring the level of restrictions in force in different countries has been a daunting task, both because of rapidly changing policies and the high degree of heterogeneity across and within countries. Especially during the second wave of the pandemic, several governments resorted to targeted measures, in an attempt to save lives while preserving the economy as much as possible. Italy is a perfect example of this, with the government enforcing a zone-system entailing different levels of restriction based on the severity of the epidemic in each region. This note tries to account for these aspects by improving the measure provided by the Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) dataset, the most comprehensive source of data on governments' responses to the pandemic. Drawing on a novel dataset for Italy, which includes daily restrictions at the regional level, I show that, during the second wave, a modified version of the OxCGRT displays a higher correlation with widely-used mobility indicators than the original OxCGRT. Moreover, at the national level, the modified version of the index points to a lower level of restrictions (9 p.p. below on average).