DP15101 The Distributional Impact of the Pandemic

Author(s): Sinem Hacioglu, Diego R Känzig, Paolo Surico
Publication Date: July 2020
Keyword(s): benefits, Earnings, Heterogeneity, Income, Pandemic, spending
JEL(s): D12, E21, G51
Programme Areas: Monetary Economics and Fluctuations
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15101

The top quartile of the income distribution accounts for almost half of the pandemic-related decline in aggregate consumption, with expenditure for this group falling much more than income. In contrast, the bottom quartile of the income distribution has seen the smallest spending cuts and the largest earnings drop but their total incomes have fallen by much less because of the increase in government benefits. The decline in consumers' spending preceded the introduction of the lockdown, whose partial lifting has triggered a stronger recovery in sectors with a lower contract rate. The largest spending contractions are concentrated in the most affluent regions. These conclusions are based on detailed high-frequency transaction data on spending, earnings and income from a large Fintech company in the United Kingdom.