Shigeyuki Abe,  Kyoto University: This paper uses economic purchasing data (the open-source METI Point of Sales, POS, Retail Sales Index) to analyze economic and social behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic period of January 2020 through August 2020. The purchasing data examined covers a wide spectrum of items including face masks, hand sanitizers, gargle medicines, electronic thermometers, button batteries, PCs, webcams, headsets, food, kitchen detergent, cosmetics products, paper products, chlorine-based bleach, and household rubber gloves.

The paper succeeds in showing that (a) the Japanese people actively prevented the spread of infection by voluntarily wearing masks, using alcohol-based disinfectants, and gargling; (b) they chose to stay home during the semi-lockdown, leading to an increase in cooking and working from home; and they do not only buy infection prevention essentials during the high infection months of April, July, and August but also during the low infection months of May and June.

This paper...

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