Research in the societal consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic

When hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic we faced shocks to our income and our beliefs: What does this mean to our household income and retirement wealth, we thought? How will small and middle sized business cope with the international lock-down? Where do I go with all my questions and need for explanations? And what can we learn from history?

Stop corona. Photo: Colourbox

At the Department of Economics, UCPH, we search for answers to questions that arise from the Corona crisis. At this page we share the results on our Covid-19 related research - and develop and extend the page as we go along. So stay tuned for the current and future results you will find here. 


Published and forthcoming

Asger Lau Andersen, Emil Toft Hansen, Adam Sheridan, and Niels Johannesen: Consumer Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: Evidence from Bank Account Transaction Data. In Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2021

Asger Lau Andersen, Emil Toft Hansen, Adam Sheridan, and Niels Johannesen: Social distancing laws cause only small losses of economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scandinavia. In PNAS August 25, 2020 117.

Björn Thor Arnarson: How a school holiday led to persistent COVID-19 outbreaks in Europe. in Scientific Reports on the 22nd of December 2021

Christian Møller Dahl, Casper Worm Hansen and Peter Sandholt Jensen. The 1918 epidemic and a V-shaped recession: Evidence from municipal income data. In Scandinavian Journal of Economics. 13 August 2021

Daphné Skandalis with Olivier Armantier, Gizem Koşar, Rachel Pomerantz, Kyle Smith, Giorgio Topa, and Wilbert van der Klaauw: How Economic Crises Affect Inflation Beliefs: Evidence from the Covid-19 Pandemic. In the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, September 2021.

Daphné Skandalis, Ioana Marinescu and Daniel Zhao: The Impact of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation on Job Search and Vacancy Creation. Journal of Public Economics, August 2021

Finn Tarp, Peter F. Lanjouw: Poverty, vulnerability and Covid-10: Introduction and overview. In Review of Development Economics. 11 November 2021

Frederik Plesner Lyngse, Carsten Thure Kirkeby, Matthew J. Denwood, Lasse Engbo Christiansen, Kåre Mølbak, Camilla Holten Møller, Robert Leo Skov, Tyra Grove Krause, Morten Rasmussen, Raphael Niklaus Sieber, Thor Bech Johannesen, Troels Lillebæk, Jannik Fonager, Anders Fomsgaard, Frederik Trier Møller, Marc Stegger, Maria Overvad, Katja Spiess, and Laust Hvas Mortensen. Household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 in Denmark. Nature Communications, 13.

Frederik Plesner Lyngse, Laust Hvas Mortensen, Matthew J. Denwood, Lasse Engbo Christiansen, Camilla Holten Møller, Robert Leo Skov, Katja Spiess, Anders Fomsgaard, Ria Lassauniere, Morten Rasmussen, Marc Stegger, Claus Nielsen, Raphael Niklaus Sieber, Arieh Sierra Cohen, Frederik Trier Møller, Maria Overvad, Kåre Mølbak, Tyra Grove Krause, and Carsten Thure Kirkeby: Household transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in Denmark. Nature Communications 13, 2022.

Frederik Plesner Lyngse, Kåre Mølbak, Matt Denwood, Lasse Engbo Christiansen, Camilla Holten Møller, Morten Rasmussen, Arieh Sierra Cohen, Marc Stegger, Jannik Fonager, Raphael Sieber, Kirsten Ellegaard, Claus Nielsen,, and Carsten Thure Kirkeby: Effect of Vaccination on Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant of Concern. In Nature Communications (open access). June 2022

Frederik Plesner Lyngse, Kåre Mølbak, Robert Leo Skov, Lasse Engbo Christiansen, Laust Hvas Mortensen, Mads Albertsen, Camilla Holten Møller, Tyra Grove Krause, Morten Rasmussen, Thomas Yssing Michaelsen, Marianne Voldstedlund, Jannik Fonager, Nina Steenhard, The Danish Covid-19 Genome Consortium, and Carsten Thure Kirkeby. Increased Transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 Lineage B.1.1.7 by Age and Viral Load: Evidence from Danish Households. In Nature Communications. 13 December 2021.

Frederik Plesner Lyngse, Carsten Thure Kirkeby, Tariq Halasa, Viggo Andreasen, Robert Leo Skov, Frederik Trier Møller, Tyra Grove Krause, and Kåre Mølbak. Nationwide study on SARS-CoV-2 transmission within households from lockdown to reopening, Denmark, 27 February 2020 to 1 August 2020. In Eurosurveillance, volume 27, issue 6. 10 February 2022

Johannes Wohlfart, Tobin Hanspal, and Annika Weber: Exposure to the COVID-19 Stock Market Crash and its Effect on Household Expectations. In Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming. Read the working paper in CESifo No. 8244 or CEPR Covid Economics Issue 23

Paolo Falco and Sarah Zaccagny: Promoting social distancing in a pandemic: Beyond the good intentions. PLOS ONE, 2 December 2021.

Pol Campos-Mercade, Armando N. Meier, Florian H. Schneider, Stephan Meier, Devin Pope, and Erik Wengström: Monetary incentives increase COVID-19 vaccinations. Science, 7 Oct 2021

Pol Campos-Mercade with Armando Meier, Florian Schneider, and Erik Wengström: Prosociality predicts health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Journal of Public Economics, Volume 195, 2021.

Pol Campos-Mercade with Ola Andersson, Fredrik Carlsson, Florian Schneider, and Erik Wengström: The individual welfare costs of stay-at-home policies, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Accepted.

Pol Campos-Mercade with Ola Andersson, Armando Meier, and Erik Wengström: Anticipation of COVID-19 Vaccines Reduces Social Distancing, Journal of Health Economics, Accepted.

Sonja Settele and Cortnie Shupe: Lives or Livelihoods? Perceived Trade-offs and Policy Views. Forthcoming in the Economic Journal. Read the working paper here.

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen: In Crisis, We Pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, volume 192, p 541-583, 2021.

Martín Gonzalez-Eiras and Dirk Niepelt: On the optimal 'lockdown' during an epidemic. In CEPR, Covid Economics Issue 7, 20 April 2020.

Martín Gonzalez-Eiras and Dirk Niepelt: The political economy of early COVID-19 interventions in US states. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control Special COVID-19 Issue, forthcoming

Young Jun Lee and Dongwoo Kima: Vaccination strategies and transmission of COVID-19: evidence across advanced countries. In Journal of Health Economics. 20 January 2022

Working papers

Finn Tarp, Tony Addison, Kunal Sen. COVID-19: Macroeconomic Dimensions in the developing world. UN-Wider. Working paper available at the UN-Wider web-page.

Frederik Plesner Lyngse, Kåre Mølbak, Kristina Træholt Frank, Claus Nielsen, Robert Leo Skov, and Carsten Thure Kirkeby: Association between SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Risk, Viral Load, and Age: A Nationwide Study in Danish Households. Draft available at medRxiv

John Rand and Henrik Hansen with Christian Estmann: Fiscal Policy Responses to COVID-19 in Danida Priority Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Development Economics Research Group Working Paper Series 09-2021

Morten Bennedsen, Birthe Larsen, Ian Schmutte, Daniela Scur: Preserving job matches during the COVID-19 pandemic: firm-level evidence on the role of government aid. Read the working paper here.

Sam Jones, Eva-Maria Egger, Ivan Manhique, Ricardo Santos: Africa’s dual lockdown dilemma: high poverty and low trust. UNU-WIDER. Read it here.
























Sonja Settele and Cortnie Shupe study the role of cost-benefit considerations in driving public demand for non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a large-scale online survey experiment with a representative sample of the US population, they introduce exogenous variation in the perceived economic costs of shutdown measures by informing a random half of our sample about relevant research evidence. 

Sonja and Courtnie find that a one standard deviation decrease in perceived economic costs (increase in perceived health benefits) of shutdown measures increases the preferred shutdown length by 13 (11) days. These effects are substantial, corresponding to two times the effect of having a Covid at-risk condition and to approximately half of the Democrat-Republican difference in demand for NPIs.

Individuals with an acute and immediate personal exposure to the crisis, either in the form of health at-risk conditions or job loss, however, are less responsive to cost-benefit considerations. Along the political dimension, while we find substantial level differences in support for NPIs, this support is highly elastic to cost-benefit considerations regardless of individual political orientation.

Our results provide insights for policy makers into the mechanisms determining public acceptance of pandemic response measures.

Sonja and Cortnie's results are forthcoming in the Economic Journal. Read the working paper here.




Paolo Falco and Sarah Zaccagni

Reminders to promote social distancing have been ubiquitous throughout the COVID-19 crisis, but little is known about their effectiveness. Existing studies find positive impacts on intentions to comply, but no evidence exists of actual behavioral change.

We conduct a randomised controlled  trial  with  a  large representative sample  of Danish  residents,  who  receive different versions of are minder to stay home as much as possible at the height of the crisis. We are the first to measure impacts on both intentions to comply and on realised actions in the following days.

We  find  that  the reminder significantly  increases people’s intentions to stay home when it emphasizes the consequences of non-compliance for the respondent or his/her family, while it has not impact when the emphasis is on other people or the country as a whole.

Changes in intentions, however, translate into weaker changes in actions that are  not  statistically  significant.  This  is consistent  with  the  existence  of  important  intention-to-action gaps.

Only people who are in relatively poor health are significantly more likely to stay home after receiving the reminder with an emphasis on personal and family risks. This shows that while reminders may be useful to protect groups at risk by increasing their own compliance with social distancing, such a tool is unable to change the behavior of those who face limited personal risks but could spread the disease.

You can read the entire paper here.









Martín Gonzalez-Eiras (with Dirk Niepelt)

We embed a lockdown choice in a simplified epidemiological model and derive formulas for the optimal lockdown intensity and duration. The optimal policy reflects the rate of time preference, epidemiological factors, the hazard rate of vaccine discovery, learning effects in the health care sector, and the severity of output losses due to a lockdown. In our baseline specification a Covid-19 shock as currently experienced by the US optimally triggers a reduction in economic activity by two thirds, for about 50 days, or approximately 9.5 percent of annual GDP.

Read the full paper.




Asger Lau Andersen, Emil Toft Hansen, Niels Johannesen, and Adam Sheridan

This paper uses transaction-level customer data from the largest bank in Denmark to estimate consumer responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the partial shutdown of the economy. We find that aggregate card spending has dropped sharply by around 25% following the shutdown. The drop is mostly concentrated on goods and services whose supply is directly restricted by the shutdown, suggesting a limited role for spillovers to non-restricted sectors through demand in the short term. The spending drop is somewhat larger for individuals more exposed to the economic risks and health risks introduced by the COVID-19 crisis; however, pre-crisis spending shares in the restricted sectors is a much stronger correlate of spending responses.

The research is published in PNAS:

“Social distancing laws cause only small losses of economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scandinavia“
(Niels, Johannesen, Adam Sheridan, Asger Lau Andersen and Emil Toft Hansen)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 2020

And you can also read about the results in CEPR




Casper Worm Hansen (with Christian Møller Dahl and Peter Sandholt Jensen)

We combine high-quality vital statistics data with annual income data at the municipality level to study the economic aftermath of the 1918-inuenza epidemic in Denmark. Controlling for pre-epidemic trends, we find that more severely affected municipalities experienced short-run declines in income, suggesting that the epidemic led to a V-shaped recession, with relatively moderate, negative effects and a full recovery after 2-3 years. Month-by industry unemployment data shows that unemployment rates were high during the epidemic, but decreased again only a couple of months after it receded. This evidence also indicates that part of the economic downturn in 1918 predates the epidemic.

Read the full paper








Johannes Wohlfart (with Tobin Hanspal, Annika Weber, )

In early April 2020 we conducted a survey on a representative sample of more than 8,000 US households to study the effect of the coronavirus crisis on household income and retirement wealth, households’ expectations about the recovery, and the impact of the shock on individuals’ economic choices. Wealth shocks are large across the population, but more pronounced for middle-age households and those higher in the wealth and income distributions. This contrasts with income shocks, which are stronger for younger households and those in lower income and wealth quintiles. Expectations about household spending are affected by income shocks, but not by financial wealth shocks. Both wealth and income shocks are associated with upward adjustments in expectations about household debt, desired working hours, and retirement age. Finally, respondents expect the recovery of the stock market to occur more quickly than for previous stock market crashes and beliefs on the duration are strongly correlated with expectations about own wealth, debt, and labor market activity.

The paper is forthcoming in Review of Economics and Statistics. Read the working paper.








































Navn Titel Telefon E-mail
Asger Lau Andersen Lektor +4535333133 E-mail
Björn Thor Arnarson Adjunkt +4535333620 E-mail
Casper Worm Hansen Professor +4535336978 E-mail
Daphné Jocelyne Skandalis Tenure Track Adjunkt +4535325135 E-mail
Edward Samuel Jones Lektor +4535323038 E-mail
Finn Tarp Professor +4535323041 E-mail
Henrik Hansen Institutleder +4535324405 E-mail
Jeanet Sinding Bentzen Lektor - forfremmelsesprogrammet +4535324400 E-mail
John Rand Professor +4535336865 E-mail
Morten Bennedsen Professor +4535334278 E-mail
Niels Johannesen Professor +4535324415 E-mail
Paolo Falco Lektor +4535334817 E-mail