Explaining the Income and Consumption Effects of COVID

We are delighted to invite you to the 8th Consumer Pyramids Research Seminar on 25 March 2021 at 7.00 PM IST.

Professor Arpit Gupta from New York University, Stern School of Business, Professor Anup Malani, University of Chicago Law School and Bartek Woda, University of Chicago Law School will present

Explaining the Income and Consumption Effects of COVID

Their presentation will be discussed by Professor Mushfiq Mobarak from the Yale School of Management.

You can sign up for the webinar here.


The COVID-19 pandemic led to stark reductions in economic activity in India, as a result of voluntary and forced changes in behavior. We employ CMIE’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey to examine the timing, distribution, and mechanism of the impacts from this shock on in- come and consumption. With regards to income, we document large drops in income even before lockdown policies and substantial heterogeneity in experiences. Some groups, particularly white-collar workers, saw virtually no loss; while incomes fell for nearly 90 percent for other groups such as daily laborers. Individuals compensated for loss of work in their typical jobs by seeking work in other sectors, with knock-on effects that compounded direct COVID losses in those other sectors. With regards to consumption, the data show that consumption fell even among those that did not ex- perience income loss, suggesting precautionary savings and consumption behavior that reduced the distributive effects of COVID-19. Moreover, consumption of food and fuel fell less than consumption of durables such as clothing and appliances. Following Hamilton (2001), we estimate Engel curves and find that changes in consumption changes re ect large price shocks (rather than a retreat to subsistence) in sectors other than food and fuel. Future work will explore geographic heterogeneity in that price shock.


- 7.00 to 8.00 PM IST: Paper presentation by Professor Anup Malani.

- 8.00 to 8.30 PM IST: Discussion by Professor Mushfiq Mobarak followed by moderated Q&A.

About the CPHS Research Seminar Series

The CPHS Research Seminar Series features work based on the Consumer Pyramids Household Survey. It is a platform for researchers to receive critical and technical feedback from accomplished peers. It is also meant to engage with the larger research community who may gain from technical discussions. You can find all previously presented work on the Events Section of our website. You can also view a recording of every seminar so far at the CPHS Research Seminar Playlist on our YouTube channel.

The Consumer Pyramids Household Survey is India’s largest regular household survey and the world’s largest household panel survey. CPHS has collected data on over 232,000 households and 1.19 million individuals surveyed since 2014. The survey collects information on household demographics, individual identities, employment, health status, financial inclusion, individual and household incomes, consumption expenditures, ownership of assets and intentions to buy them, household amenities and consumer sentiments. Income and expenses data are a monthly time-series since January 2014.

Record-level data from all 21 Waves of CPHS is available through a subscription service. Data from the Sep-Dec 2020 Wave of CPHS was released to subscribers on January 2, 2021. Please visit our website to learn more about CPHS and how to gain access to the record-level data.

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