Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this online conference.

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Session Overview
J01: COVID-19 and Behavior
Friday, 20/Aug/2021:
10:45am - 12:15pm

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10:45am - 11:07am

Calamities, Common Interests, Shared Identity: What Shapes Altruism and Reciprocity?

Cevat Giray Aksoy1, Antonio Cabrales2, Mathias Dolls3, Ruben Durante4, Lisa Windsteiger5

1European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; 2Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; 3ifo Institute, Germany; 4ICREA, UPF, Barcelona School of Economics; 5Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

We conduct a large-scale survey experiment in nine European countries to study how priming a major crisis (COVID-19), common economic interests, and a shared identity influences altruism, reciprocity and trust of EU citizens. We find that priming the COVID-19 pandemic increases altruism and reciprocity towards compatriots, citizens of other EU countries, and non-EU citizens. Priming common European values also boosts altruism and reciprocity but only towards compatriots and fellow Europeans. Priming common economic interests has no tangible impact on behaviour. Trust in others is not affected by any treatment. Our results are consistent with the parochial altruism hypothesis, which asserts that because altruism arises out of inter-group conflict, humans show a tendency to favor members of their own groups.

Aksoy-Calamities, Common Interests, Shared Identity-221.pdf

11:07am - 11:30am

Economic Sentiment During the COVID Pandemic: Evidence from Search Behaviour in the EU

Wouter van der Wielen, Salvador Barrios

European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain

The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted an economic hardship unprecedented for the modern age. In this paper, we show that the health crisis and ensuing lockdown, came with an unseen shift in households' economic sentiment. First, using a European dataset of country-level and regional internet searches, we document a substantial increase in people's business cycle related searches in the months following the coronavirus outbreak. People's unemployment concerns jumped to levels well-above those during the Great Recession. Second, we observe a significant, coinciding slowdown in labour markets and consumption. Third, our analysis shows that the ensuing shift in sentiment was significantly more outspoken in those EU countries hit hardest in economic terms. Finally, we show that unprecedented fiscal policy actions, such as the short-time work schemes implemented or reformed at the onset of the COVID-crisis, however, have not eased economic sentiment.

van der Wielen-Economic Sentiment During the COVID Pandemic-217.pdf

11:30am - 11:52am

News Framing and Policy Support During the COVID-19 Crisis: Evidence from a Survey Experiment

Patrick Bareinz, Fabian Koenings

University of Jena

We investigate the effect of how news outlets communicate macroeconomic information on policy support during the COVID-19 crisis. In our survey experiment based on a representative sample of 3000 individuals in Germany, respondents are exposed to an expert forecast of GDP growth. Individuals are randomly assigned to either receive no information, the baseline forecast information, or real-world frames of the same information used in newspaper articles. We find that in contrast to the baseline information, positive framing of forecasted economic growth by news outlets increases support for pandemic policy. This effect is especially pronounced for respondents with more pessimistic macroeconomic expectations. Further evidence suggests that negative economic news are perceived as more credible and hence less surprising in times of recession, not translating into a change in political opinion.

Bareinz-News Framing and Policy Support During the COVID-19 Crisis-415.pdf

11:52am - 12:15pm

The Impact of the COVID-19 on Japanese Firms: Mobility and Resilience via Remote Work

Daiji Kawaguchi1, Sagiri Kitao1, Manabu Nose1,2

1The University of Tokyo; 2The International Monetary Fund

Drawing on the original survey of Japanese firms during the COVID-19 pandemic, we estimate the impact of the crisis on firms' sales, employment and hours worked per employee and roles of Work-from-Home (WfH) arrangements in mitigating negative effects. We find that the lowered mobility significantly contracted firms' activities. On average, a 10% reduction in mobility reduced sales by 2.8% and hours worked by 2.1%, but did not affect employment. This muted employment response is consistent with limited changes in aggregate employment at the extensive margin during COVID-19 in Japan. We find that the adoption of WfH before COVID-19 mitigated the negative impact by 55% in terms of sales and by 35% in terms of hours worked. Adapting to the crisis environment by increasing the number of employees working from home is also found to moderately reduce the negative impact on sales and work hours.

Kawaguchi-The Impact of the COVID-19 on Japanese Firms-413.pdf

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