DOI: 10.1515/ger-2023-0040 ISSN:

Show Me the Money: Tracking Consumer Spending with Daily Card Transaction Data During the Pandemic

Serhan Cevik
  • Economics and Econometrics


The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented shock to economic activity with abrupt and unexpected changes in household consumption behavior. This paper investigates how the spread of the pandemic and government interventions have affected consumer spending using daily card transaction data in the Baltics. The analysis shows significant effects on the amount and composition of debit and credit card transactions. First, the number of new COVID-19 infections or deaths has a strongly negative effect. Second, while public health measures designed to contain the spread of the pandemic has a negative effect, economic support measures designed to assist businesses and households have a stimulative effect. Third, there is heterogeneity across spending categories, but the drop is mostly concentrated in sectors that are restricted by lockdowns and the risk of infection. Fourth, the impact of government interventions, especially in terms of stimulating consumer spending, appears to be more pronounced on goods than services.

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