Household Spending Patterns and Hardships during COVID-19: A Comparative Study of the U.S. and Israel

48 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2021

See all articles by Stephen Roll

Stephen Roll

Washington University in St. Louis

Yung Chun

Washington University in St. Louis

Olga Kondratjeva

John Glenn College of Public Affairs

Mathieu Despard

UNC Greensboro; Social Policy Institute

Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Washington University in St. Louis - George Warren Brown School of Social Work

Date Written: February 19, 2021

Abstract

The combined supply and demand shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic have created the largest shift in consumer behavior in recent history, while exposing millions of households to material hardships like food insecurity and housing instability. In this study, we draw on national surveys conducted early in the pandemic to investigate the COVID-19’s effects on self-reported consumer spending behaviors and experiences of hardship for households in Israel and the U.S.; two developmentally similar countries that have had divergent experiences with and responses to the pandemic. We also examine the extent to which racial/ethnic/religious minority status and pre-pandemic employment characteristics predict these outcomes. Using descriptive and logistic regression approaches, we find that housing expenditures were fairly stable in the U.S. and Israel, while food and credit card payment expenditures were relatively volatile. We also find that food insecurity was much higher in the U.S. than Israel, while indicators of housing volatility are similar between the two countries. Generally speaking, racial/ethnic/religious minorities in both countries were more likely to experience spending volatility, while Black and Hispanic (in the U.S.) and Arab (in Israel) households were more likely to experience hardships. Employment and financial characteristics also appear much more predictive of hardship in the U.S. than in Israel.

Keywords: COVID-19, material hardship, comparative analysis, consumer behavior

JEL Classification: D10, D14, I31

Suggested Citation

Roll, Stephen and Chun, Yung and Kondratjeva, Olga and Despard, Mathieu and Grinstein-Weiss, Michal, Household Spending Patterns and Hardships during COVID-19: A Comparative Study of the U.S. and Israel (February 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3789304 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3789304

Stephen Roll (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
United States

Yung Chun

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
United States

Olga Kondratjeva

John Glenn College of Public Affairs ( email )

110 Page Hall
1810 College Road
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Mathieu Despard

UNC Greensboro ( email )

PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402
United States
9193587162 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://matdespard.wp.uncg.edu/

Social Policy Institute ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
United States

Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Washington University in St. Louis - George Warren Brown School of Social Work ( email )

St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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