How Well Can Real-Time Indicators Track the Economic Impacts of a Crisis Like COVID-19?

Ten, Gi Khan / Merfeld, Joshua / Newhouse, David / Pape, Utz

DC Field Value Language
dc.contributor.authorTen, Gi Khan-
dc.contributor.authorMerfeld, Joshua-
dc.contributor.authorNewhouse, David-
dc.contributor.authorPape, Utz-
dc.description.abstractThis paper presents evidence on the extent to which a set of real-time indicators tracked changes in gross domestic product across 142 countries in 2020. The real-time indicators include Google mobility, Google search trends, food price information, nitrogen dioxide, and nighttime lights. Google mobility and staple food prices both declined sharply in March and April, followed by a rapid recovery that returned to baseline levels by July and August. Mobility and staple food prices fell less in low-income countries. Nitrogen dioxide levels show a similar pattern, with a steep fall and rapid recovery in high-income and upper-middle-income countries but not in low-income and lower-middle-income countries. In April and May, Google search terms reflecting economic distress and religiosity spiked in some regions but not others. Data on nighttime lights show no clear drop in March outside East Asia. Linear models selected using the Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator explain about a third of the variation in annual gross domestic product growth rates across 72 countries. In a smaller subset of higher income countries, real-time indicators explain about 40 percent of the variation in quarterly gross domestic product growth. Overall, mobility and food price data, as well as pollution data in more developed countries, appeared to be best at capturing the widespread economic disruption experienced during the summer of 2020. The results indicate that these real-time indicators can track a substantial percentage of both annual and quarterly changes in gross domestic product.-
dc.publisherWorld Bank-
dc.relation.isPartOfSeriesPolicy Research Working Paper 10080-
dc.titleHow Well Can Real-Time Indicators Track the Economic Impacts of a Crisis Like COVID-19?-
dc.typeWorking Paper-
dc.contributor.affiliatedAuthorMerfeld, Joshua-
dc.type.docTypeWorking Paper-
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