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COVID-19, Lockdowns and Well-Being: Evidence from Google Trends

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  • Brodeur, Abel
  • Clark, Andrew E.
  • Fleche, Sarah
  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many governments to implement lockdowns. While lockdowns may help to contain the spread of the virus, they may result in substantial damage to population well-being. We use Google Trends data to test whether the lockdowns implemented in Europe and America led to changes in well-being related topic search terms. Using differences-in-differences and a regression discontinuity design to evaluate the causal effects of lockdown, we find a substantial increase in the search intensity for boredom in Europe and the US. We also found a significant increase in searches for loneliness, worry and sadness, while searches for stress, suicide and divorce on the contrary fell. Our results suggest that people's mental health may have been severely affected by the lockdown.

Suggested Citation

  • Brodeur, Abel & Clark, Andrew E. & Fleche, Sarah & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2020. "COVID-19, Lockdowns and Well-Being: Evidence from Google Trends," GLO Discussion Paper Series 552, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:552
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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Health > Distancing and Lockdown > Effect on well-being

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brodeur, Abel & Grigoryeva, Idaliya & Kattan, Lamis, 2020. "Stay-At-Home Orders, Social Distancing and Trust," IZA Discussion Papers 13234, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Giuntella, Osea & Hyde, Kelly & Saccardo, Silvia & Sadoff, Sally, 2020. "Lifestyle and Mental Health Disruptions during COVID-19," IZA Discussion Papers 13569, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Barnes, Stephen R. & Beland, Louis-Philippe & Huh, Jason & Kim, Dongwoo, 2020. "The Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on Mobility and Traffic Accidents: Evidence from Louisiana," GLO Discussion Paper Series 616, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Mathias Huebener & Sevrin Waights & C. Katharina Spiess & Nico A. Siegel & Gert G. Wagner, 2021. "Parental well-being in times of Covid-19 in Germany," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 91-122, March.
    5. YAMAMURA, Eiji & Tsutsui, Yoshiro, 2020. "Impact of closing schools on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence using panel data from Japan," MPRA Paper 105023, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Fakorede, Oluwatobi & Mikola, Derek, 2020. "The Short-Term Effect of COVID-19 on Self-Employed Workers in Canada," GLO Discussion Paper Series 585, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Brodeur, Abel & Haddad, Joanne & Mikola, Derek, 2020. "Covid-19, Family Stress and Domestic Violence: Remote Work, Isolation and Bargaining Power," GLO Discussion Paper Series 571, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    8. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Knott, Rachel & Torgler, Benno, 2021. "Resilience to Disaster: Evidence from Daily Wellbeing Data," IZA Discussion Papers 14220, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "The Fall in Income Inequality during COVID-19 in Five European Countries," Working Papers 565, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    10. Kerim Peren Arin & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos & Ana I. Moro-Egido & Marcel Thum, 2021. "Socio-Economic Attitudes in the Era of Social Distancing and Lockdowns," CESifo Working Paper Series 8845, CESifo.
    11. Jun, Seung-Pyo & Yoo, Hyoung Sun & Lee, Jae-Seong, 2021. "The impact of the pandemic declaration on public awareness and behavior: Focusing on COVID-19 google searches," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 166(C).
    12. Darmody, Merike & Smyth, Emer & Russell, Helen, 2020. "The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for policy in relation to children and young people: a research review," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number SUSTAT94.
    13. Louis-Philippe Beland & Abel Brodeur & Derek Mikola & Taylor Wright, 2020. "COVID-19, Occupation Tasks and Mental Health in Canada," Carleton Economic Papers 20-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 30 Jun 2020.
    14. Fayaz Farkhad, Bita & Albarracín, Dolores, 2021. "Insights on the implications of COVID-19 mitigation measures for mental health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    15. Ferdi Botha & John P. New & Sonja C. New & David C. Ribar & Nicolás Salamanca, 2021. "Implications of COVID-19 labour market shocks for inequality in financial wellbeing," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 655-689, April.
    16. Takaku, Reo & Yokoyama, Izumi, 2021. "What the COVID-19 school closure left in its wake: Evidence from a regression discontinuity analysis in Japan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    17. Brodeur, Abel & Cook, Nikolai & Wright, Taylor, 2021. "On the effects of COVID-19 safer-at-home policies on social distancing, car crashes and pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
    18. Andrew E. Clark & Huifu Nong & Hongjia Zhu & Rong Zhu, 2020. "Compensating for Academic Loss: Online Learning and Student Performance during the COVID-19 Pandemic," Working Papers halshs-02901505, HAL.
    19. Künn, Steffen & Seel, Christian & Zegners, Dainis, 2020. "Cognitive Performance in the Home Office - Evidence from Professional Chess," Research Memorandum 021, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    20. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Borra, Cristina & Wang, Chunbei, 2021. "Asian Discrimination in the Coronavirus Era: Implications for Business Formation and Survival," IZA Discussion Papers 14182, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui, 2021. "How does COVID-19 change insurance and vaccine demand? Evidence from short-panel data in Japan," Papers 2101.08922, arXiv.org.
    22. Vincenzo Alfano & Salvatore Ercolano & Gaetano Vecchione, 2020. "Religious Attendance and Covid-19. Evidences from Italian Regions," CESifo Working Paper Series 8596, CESifo.
    23. Dang, Hai-Anh & Trinh, Trong-Anh, 2020. "The Beneficial Impacts of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Air Pollution: Evidence from Vietnam," IZA Discussion Papers 13651, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    24. Abay,Kibrom A. & Hirfrfot,Kibrom Tafere & Woldemichael,Andinet, 2020. "Winners and Losers from COVID-19 : Global Evidence from Google Search," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9268, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Boredom; COVID-19; Loneliness; Well-being;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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