TITLE Estimating the Effects of Regulating University Face-to-Face Lectures on the Spread of COVID-19: Evidence from Japan
AUTHORS Michinao Okachi

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences The University of Tokyo
Visiting Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University

Haewon Youn

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences The University of Tokyo


Universities are the only institutions that have conducted most lectures online during the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, but no researcher has analyzed the effects of nonface-to-face lectures on containing the spread of the novel coronavirus. This study is the first attempt to estimate these effects. Applying a multiple-event study negative binomial regression model, we find that changing the ratio of online lectures had only slight effects on the numbers of COVID-19 infections among university students. For example, if universities regulate almost all lectures in-person from lectures consisting of more than a half of in-person style, the number of student infections declined by 5.5 per 10,000 students between seven weeks prior and posterior to the change. Other lecture style changes show milder differences than this. Considering these results, minimizing or restricting face-to-face lectures does not appear to be particularly effective for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

KEYWORDS COVID-19, University lecture style, Multiple event study model, Negative binomial distribution
ISSUED November 2021
REVISED May 2022

» List of Discussion Papers