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Fear of COVID-19 Contagion and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Italian Households



Using data from a new survey of 3,000 Italian households collected at the end of October 2020, we study the effect of fear of COVID-19 contagion and income risk on consumption. The survey elicits individual-level indicators of fear of contagion, distinguishing between worries while working, shopping, traveling, eating out and meeting relatives or friends, and indicators of changes in spending behavior after the pandemics. The probabilities of consumption drops and increased saving are positively associated to fear of contagion, particularly while shopping, traveling and eating out. Income uncertainty, measured by the probability of job loss, also contributes to explain the increase in saving and the drop in consumption. Our findings suggest that fear of contagion and income uncertainty limits the effectiveness of policies aimed at stimulating consumption during the pandemic.

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  • Giovanni Immordino & Tullio Jappelli & Tommaso Oliviero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2021. "Fear of COVID-19 Contagion and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Italian Households," CSEF Working Papers 601, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:601

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    1. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3138-3160, November.
    2. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Kenny, Geoff, 2020. "The Covid-19 Crisis and Consumption: Survey Evidence from Six EU Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 15525, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    6. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Michael Weber, 2020. "How Did U.S. Consumers Use Their Stimulus Payments?," Working Papers 2020-109, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    7. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Junichi Kikuchi & Ryoya Nagao & Yoshiyuki Nakazono, 2021. "Fear of COVID-19 Contagion: The Idiosyncratic Effects of an Aggregate Pandemic Shock," ISER Discussion Paper 1144, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    2. Elisa Guglielminetti & Concetta Rondinelli, 2021. "Consumption and saving patterns in Italy during Covid-19," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 620, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Schiopu, Andreea Fortuna & Hornoiu, Remus Ion & Padurean, Ana Mihaela & Nica, Ana-Maria, 2022. "Constrained and virtually traveling? Exploring the effect of travel constraints on intention to use virtual reality in tourism," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    4. Chiara Sotis & Miriam Allena & Renny Reyes & Alessandro Romano, 2021. "COVID-19 Vaccine Passport and International Traveling: The Combined Effect of Two Nudges on Americans’ Support for the Pass," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(16), pages 1-17, August.

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    More about this item


    COVID-19; Consumption; Precautionary Saving; Fear of Contagion.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving

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