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Research - 17.07.2020 - 00:00

Economic and social impact of COVID-19 - An interview with Charlotta Sirén

"Tracking and Managing the Economic and Social Impacts of COVID-19" is a new Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) sponsored research project led by Prof. Dr. Charlotta Sirén at the Global Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The project starts on 1 August. An interview.

17 July 2020.

What are the parameters of your project?

Our research project combines satellite-based remote sensing data and media trace data to examine how collective emotions and pandemic-induced fear affected economic and social behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our project will also provide policy makers, health care officials, and disaster mitigation workers with an online global early warning platform.

How much data are you working with?
This project utilizes a substantial amount of openly available and novel data collected by national governments, international organizations, and non-profits. We will leverage a large in-house code base for collecting, cleaning, and analyzing various remote sensing data. We will also integrate an internally developed collection of digital trace data with over a quarter of a billion news articles. This digital trace data enables us to investigate collective emotions and pandemic-induced fear.

What are you specifically looking at?

Our research project has three main objectives. First, we will be examining how government COVID-19 mitigation guidance influenced company and organization compliance through the lens of collective emotions and pandemic-induced fear. More explicitly, we will be investigating how message framing and campaign dissemination channels impacted organizational support for official COVID-19 mitigation efforts. In doing so, we try to determine how authorities can improve pandemic-related information and guidance. Our second objective is to examine how collective emotions and emotional contagions during the COVID-19 pandemic affected macro-level social and economic activities. We expect to find that differences in pandemic-induced cross-regional and cross-national behaviors are partially attributable to emotional contagions. We will finally be delivering the online global early warning platform mentioned above.

Will there be others working on the project?

Our research team has a proven track record of using highly technical data to measure the effects of pandemics and other natural and man-made events. In addition to myself, this project involves Prof. Dr. Joakim Wincent, Prof. Dr. Dietmar Grichnik and Michael Hudecheck from the University of St.Gallen. Prof. Dr. Gerard George, the Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University, is an international project partner.

Charlotta Sirén is Assistant Professor for Strategic Entrepreneurship at the Global Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of St.Gallen.

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