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CEP Covid-19 analysis
Recovering from the first Covid-19 lockdown: Economic impacts of the UK's Eat Out to Help Out scheme
Nicolás González-Pampillón, Gonzalo Nunez-Chaim and Katharina Ziegler February 2021
Paper No' CEPCOVID-19-018:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: consumption subsidy; covid-19; difference-in-differences; footfall; job posts

We evaluate some of the economic impacts of the UK’s Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) scheme on the food service sector. EOTHO subsidised the cost of eating out, with a 50% discount Mondays to Wednesdays in August 2020. We exploit the spatial variation in take-up using a continuous difference-in-differences approach. We measure the effect on footfall using mobility data from Google and on employment using job posts from Indeed. Our estimates indicate that footfall in retail & recreation increased by 5%-6%, while job posts in the food preparation & service industry increased by 7%-14%. These effects are transitory, and we do not find evidence of spillover benefits to non-recreational activities or other sectors. Further research is needed to assess the cost-effectiveness of EOTHO and similar programmes for boosting aggregate demand and supporting economic recovery after COVID-19 lockdowns.