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Cambridge-INET Institute   COVID-19 Economic Research


Vasco M Carvalho, working with researchers at the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College and at the Spanish bank BBVA, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, studies the “real time evolution” of economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers leverage from access to the universe of BBVA client transactions during the first three months of 2020, a period covering the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain and the ensuing lockdown policies adopted by the Spanish Government. This real time, high resolution dataset, provides a first economic assessment of how mobility restrictions have impacted the economy.

This new study uncovers a large, abrupt and persistent decline in economic activity: a broad measure of expenditure has declined by 50% during the lockdown.



Year on Year growth of daily total expenditures by nationally-issued cards. Blueline: Raw data. Orange line: seven day, centered moving average of raw data. Left Y-axis: BBVA daily expenditure growth; Right Y-axis: Implied aggregate non-durable consumption growth daily Y-o-Y growth by rescaling expenditure growth.



Tracking the COVID-19 Crisis with High-Resolution Transaction Data, Carvalho, V. M., Garcia, J. R., Hansen, S., Ortiz, A., Rodrigo, T., Rodríguez Mora, J. V. and Ruiz, P., Royal Society Open Science, vol 8, issue 8, 2021.

Research on BBVA website.


Prof. Carvalho's research was featured in the following media outlets:

The Economist.

VOXeu Column.

University of Cambridge Research News.

El Pais Newspaper.

Spanish Television, Radio, Main & Regional Newspaper Press Coverage.


Professor Vasco Carvalho

About the author
Professor Vasco M Carvalho is the Professor of Macroeconomics and Director of the Cambridge-INET Institute in the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge. His research is focused on Macroeconomics, Networks in Economics and Applied Econometrics.