Half-hearted policies on mobility restrictions during COVID-19 in Indonesia: A portrait of large informal economy country

Khoirunurrofik Khoirunurrofik, Faris Abdurrachman, Lovina Aisha Malika Putri

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6 Citations (Scopus)


This study measures the effectiveness of government's transportation policy on mobility restriction during the COVID-19 pandemic using publicly available big datasets. Using a causal difference-in-difference (DiD) analysis and regression discontinuity design (RDD), we examine the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on the aggregate population mobility of cities and regencies across Indonesia. Our results show that during the period of the first so-called “Large-scale Social Restrictions” or “Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar” (PSBB I) from April to May 2020, NPIs reduced mobility by 5.4% relative to pre-pandemic baseline and accounted for a small portion of mobility decline in cities or regencies that instituted mobility restrictions. The impact of the second PSBB policy (PSBB II) from September to November 2020 was smaller, with a mobility reduction of only 1.8%–2.9%, depending on the window of observation and sample. Lastly, the “Imposition of Restriction on Social Activity” or Pemberlakuan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat (PPKM) policy beginning in January 2021 has had a more negligible impact, with mobility reduction of approximately 0.6–2.1%. These findings indicate that the effectiveness of mobility restrictions tend to decrease over time. The decline in effectiveness may be the result of the increased cost of social distancing over long periods of time and the declining stringency of the mobility restrictions being imposed, which may be particularly pronounced for emerging countries with a large informal sector, such as Indonesia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100517
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Difference-in-differences
  • Indonesia
  • Mobility restriction
  • Policy evaluation
  • Population mobility


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