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Expected Post-Pandemic Consumption and Scarred Expectations from COVID-19


  • Alexander Dietrich
  • Edward S. Knotek
  • Michael McMain
  • Kristian Ove R. Myrseth
  • Raphael Schoenle
  • Michael Weber


The COVID-19 vaccination drive raises questions about the trajectory of the economic recovery and the pandemic’s impact on consumers’ longer-term behaviors. In this Commentary, we examine the evolution of consumers’ expectations for their post-crisis spending on services that have been dramatically curtailed by the pandemic: visiting restaurants, bars, and hotels, using public transportation, and attending crowded events. We document a U-shaped pattern of expected future use of these services, with growing pessimism in summer 2020 that had largely reversed by fall 2020—for most groups. More recently, higher-income individuals have indicated that they expect to sharply increase their use of these services compared with their pre-pandemic behaviors, but there has been a notable scarring of expectations among older Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Dietrich & Edward S. Knotek & Michael McMain & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Raphael Schoenle & Michael Weber, 2021. "Expected Post-Pandemic Consumption and Scarred Expectations from COVID-19," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, vol. 2021(11), pages 1-8, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcec:90828
    DOI: 10.26509/frbc-ec-202111

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dietrich, Alexander M. & Kuester, Keith & Müller, Gernot J. & Schoenle, Raphael, 2022. "News and uncertainty about COVID-19: Survey evidence and short-run economic impact," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(S), pages 35-51.
    2. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2011. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 126(1), pages 373-416.
    3. Joel Elvery, 2020. "Getting to Accuracy: Measuring COVID-19 by Mortality Rates and Percentage Changes," Cleveland Fed District Data Brief 20200408, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    4. Loretta J. Mester, 2021. "Patience Will Be a Virtue in Fostering a Broad-Based Sustainable Recovery," Speech 89391, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    5. Dionissi Aliprantis & Kristen Tauber, 2020. "Measuring Deaths from COVID-19," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, vol. 2020(18), pages 1-7, July.
    6. Julian Kozlowski & Laura Veldkamp & Venky Venkateswaran, 2020. "Scarring Body and Mind: The Long-Term Belief-Scarring Effects of COVID-19," NBER Working Papers 27439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kristen Tauber & Willem Van Zandweghe, 2021. "Why Has Durable Goods Spending Been So Strong during the COVID-19 Pandemic?," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, vol. 2021(16), pages 1-6, July.

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