The Cost of Lockdowns and Shutdowns: Part I

Counting the economic costs of government policy responses to COVID-19.

Minnesota’s government policy responses to COVID-19 cost each resident $1,866 in lost GDP by the end of the first quarter of 2021, or $7,464 for a family of four.

That means the policy decisions to shut down large parts of the economy because of the pandemic were not free. In fact, they were quite expensive for Minnesota families.

According to our research, states that employed less stringent COVID mitigation strategies fared much better when it came to GDP growth. Unfortunately, Minnesota was not one of those states.

This is the first of two reports examining the costs of government policy choices due to the pandemic. The next report will detail the learning loss of Minnesota students based on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) data recently released by the Minnesota Department of Education, and will be released in the next two weeks.

In this report, we examine the economic impact of shutdowns and lockdowns in 51 U.S. jurisdictions. This analysis is strictly economic and did not factor in the possible health and safety benefits of government shutdowns.

Public policy must be judged on its cost as well as its benefit. With this research, we can now begin to answer the question of whether the costs of these policy responses — $7,464 for a family of four over the first year of the pandemic — were worth the benefits.

Click the “Download PDF” button to read the rest of the report.