How Did COVID-19 and Stabilization Policies Affect Spending and Employment? A New Real-Time Economic Tracker Based on Private Sector Data

Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Nathaniel Hendren, Michael Stepner, The Opportunity Insights Team

NBER Working Paper No. 27431
Issued in June 2020

---- Acknowledgments ----

A preliminary draft of this paper was previously circulated as “Real-Time Economics: A New Platform to Track the Impacts of COVID-19 on People, Businesses, and Communities Using Private Sector Data.” We thank Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, Jason Furman, Xavier Jaravel, Lawrence Katz, Emmanuel Saez, Ludwig Straub, and Danny Yagan for helpful comments. We also thank the corporate partners who provided the underlying data used in the Economic Tracker, who as of this version include: Affinity Solutions (especially Atul Chadha and Arun Rajagopal), Burning Glass (especially Anton Libsch and Bledi Taska), Earnin (especially Arun Natesan and Ram Palaniappan), Homebase (especially Ray Sandza and Andrew Vogeley), Intuit (especially Christina Foo and Krithika Swaminathan), Womply (especially Toby Scammell and Ryan Thorpe), and Zearn (especially Billy McRae and Shalinee Sharma). We are very grateful to Ryan Rippel of the Gates Foundation for his support in launching this project and to Gregory Bruich for early conversations that helped spark this work. The work was funded by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, and Andrew and Melora Balson. The project was approved under Harvard University IRB 20-0586. †The Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker Team consists of Matthew Bell, Gregory Bruich, Tina Chelidze, Lucas Chu, Westley Cineus, Sebi Devlin-Foltz, Michael Droste, Shannon Felton Spence, Dhruv Gaur, Federico Gonzalez, Rayshauna Gray, Abby Hiller, Matthew Jacob, Tyler Jacobson, Margaret Kallus, Laura Kincaide, Cailtin Kupsc, Sarah LaBauve, Maddie Marino, Kai Matheson, Kate Musen, Danny Onorato, Sarah Oppenheimer, Trina Ott, Lynn Overmann, Max Pienkny, Jeremiah Prince, Daniel Reuter, Peter Ruhm, Emanuel Schertz, Kamelia Stavreva, James Stratton, Elizabeth Thach, Nicolaj Thor, Amanda Wahlers, Kristen Watkins, Alanna Williams, David Williams, Chase Williamson, Shady Yassin, and Ruby Zhang. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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