The Impact of Face-Masks on Total Mortality Heterogenous Effects by Gender and Age

Governments around the world have been implementing several non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to fight Covid-19 spread and its associated mortality. We estimate the causal impact of mandatory face-mask wearing policy in public places on (total) mortality in Switzerland. We exploit the staggered introduction of the policy across Swiss cantons using a Difference-in-Difference and an event study approach.

We find that the extension of compulsory mask wearing to public places has an heterogeneous impact on mortality, with small positive effects on male mortality entirely driven by older age-cohorts (90+). Finally, we show that adding contact tracing and stricter distancing to compulsory face-mask policy does not lead to better results in terms of mortality.

Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement
No funding to acknowledge for this project.