Covid-19 Businesses Reopenings and Consumer Spending

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052721-WP-Covid-19 Businesses Reopenings and Consumer Spending-Dantas and Robbins

Raissa Dantas, University of Illinois at Chicago
Jacob A. Robbins, University of Illinois at Chicago


This paper studies if Covid-19 retail and restaurant shutdowns and reopenings were responsible for tin the United States. We find reopening policies substantially increased he dramatic ‘V’ shaped pattern of consumer spending spending for categories directly impacted by the laws: a 68.4 p.p. increase in non-essential in-store spending and a 16.7 p.p. increase in full-service indoor dining. For sectors not directly impacted — essential retail, limited-service restaurants, and online — we find a limited impact of reopenings. We estimate that retail reopenings are responsible for 34% of the total trough-to-peak recovery in spending, while restaurant reopenings are responsible for 15% of the recovery.

May 27, 2021


Raissa Dantas Jacob Robbins


Taxes, Inequality & Growth


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