Measuring the economic impact of Covid-19 in the UK with business website data

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Measuring the economic impact of Covid-19 in the UK with business website data

Covid-19 Webinar

Thursday 23 July 2020, 11:30 — 12:30

Covid-19 Webinar

Presented by: Juan Mateos-Garcia (innovation foundation Nesta)

We explore the potential of novel web sources to generate policy-relevant evidence about the economic impacts of Covid-19. To do this, we analyse a novel dataset with information about 1.83 million UK business websites collected in May and June 2020 by Glass, a business intelligence startup. The dataset contains text descriptions about the businesses, their sectors and locations, as well as additional information relevant for understanding business exposure and responses to Covid-19. We validate this dataset using official sources and Companies House to assess biases in coverage. Next, we explore how it can be combined with product and service web-search data from Google Search Trends to generate firm, sector and place-based measures of exposure to Covid-19 and its impacts. We conclude by considering what these measures suggest about the economic resilience to Covid-19 of different areas of the UK.