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ArXiv Preprint

This study analyzes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the subjective well-being as measured through Twitter data indicators for Japan and Italy. It turns out that, overall, the subjective well-being dropped by 11.7% for Italy and 8.3% for Japan in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the last two months of 2019 and even more compared to the historical mean of the indexes. Through a data science approach we try to identify the possible causes of this drop down by considering several explanatory variables including, climate and air quality data, number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, Facebook Covid and flu symptoms global survey, Google Trends data and coronavirus-related searches, Google mobility data, policy intervention measures, economic variables and their Google Trends proxies, as well as health and stress proxy variables based on big data. We show that a simple static regression model is not able to capture the complexity of well-being and therefore we propose a dynamic elastic net approach to show how different group of factors may impact the well-being in different periods, even over a short time length, and showing further country-specific aspects. Finally, a structural equation modeling analysis tries to address the causal relationships among the COVID-19 factors and subjective well-being showing that, overall, prolonged mobility restrictions,flu and Covid-like symptoms, economic uncertainty, social distancing and news about the pandemic have negative effects on the subjective well-being.

Tiziana Carpi, Airo Hino, Stefano Maria Iacus, Giuseppe Porro