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Exposure to the COVID-19 Stock Market Crash and its Effect on Household Expectations


  • Tobin Hanspal

    (Department of Finance, Accounting and Statistics, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business)

  • Annika Weber

    (Department of Finance, Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Johannes Wohlfart

    (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


We survey a representative sample of US households to study how exposure to the COVID-19 stock market crash affects expectations and planned behavior. Wealth shocks are associated with upward adjustments of expectations about retirement age, desired working hours, and household debt, but have only small effects on expected spending. We provide correlational and experimental evidence that beliefs about the duration of the stock market recovery shape households' expectations about their own wealth and their planned investment decisions and labor market activity. Our findings shed light on the implications of household exposure to stock market crashes for expectation formation.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobin Hanspal & Annika Weber & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Exposure to the COVID-19 Stock Market Crash and its Effect on Household Expectations," CEBI working paper series 20-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kucebi:2013

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ingar K. Haaland & Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Designing Information Provision Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 8406, CESifo.

    More about this item


    Coronavirus; Stockholding; Wealth shocks; Expectation formation; Inequality.;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making


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