Restarting “Normal” Life after Covid-19 and the Lockdown: Evidence from Spain, the United Kingdom, and Italy

Document Type


Publication Date



In this article, we examine the expectations of the economic outlook, fear of the future, and behavioural change during the first Covid-19 wave, for three European countries (Spain, the United Kingdom, and Italy) that have been severely hit. We use a novel dataset that we collected to monitor the three countries during the crisis. As outcome variables, we used expectations (e.g., economic outlook, labour market situation, recovery), fear (e.g., scenario of new outburst, economic depression, restriction to individual rights and freedom), and behavioural change across the following dimensions: savings, cultural consumption, social capital, and risky behaviour. We provide descriptive evidence that is representative of the population of interest, and we estimate the impact of exposure to shock occurred during the crisis on the same outcome variables, using matching techniques. Our main findings are the following: we detected systematically negative expectations regarding the future and the recovery, majoritarian fears of an economic depression, a new outbreak, and a permanent restriction on freedom, a reduction in saving and in social capital. Exposure to shocks decreased expected job prospects, increased withdrawal from accumulated savings, and reduced contacts with the network relevant to job advancement, whereas it had inconclusive effects over fears.


This article was originally published in Social Indicators Research in 2021.

The Link to Full Text button above directs users to a free read-only version of the article.

Peer Reviewed