Every government in the world introduced restrictions to human mobility – that is, the movement of persons across and within state borders – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such restrictions thus constituted a global phenomenon, but they were by no means globally uniform; rather, they varied significantly between and within states, as well as over time. This research note presents different data sources for studying the drivers and outcomes of mobility restrictions, highlighting specific ways in which the data can be used. We begin by surveying seven new databases capturing various aspects of the regulation of human movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing inspiration from research on previous pandemics, we then outline five possible research avenues prompted by these data. We suggest that explaining the causes and consequences of such restrictions, as well as the differences between them, can significantly advance research on the governance of mobility, migration, and citizenship.
Lorenzo Piccoli, Jelena Džankić, Timothy Jacob-Owens, and Didier Ruedin, “Restricting Human Movement During the COVID-19 Pandemic: New Research Avenues in the Study of Mobility, Migration, and Citizenship“, International Migration Review, 2022.