Research Team Studies COVID-19-Related Financial Shocks for Private Households

German Labour Ministry to Fund Interdisciplinary Research Team

Press release, 12 October 2020
Print version (PDF)

Besides severe social and economic cutbacks, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting many people in financial difficulties. This applies above all to people on low incomes or to occupational groups that are particularly affected by the pandemic. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Mannheim, ZEW Mannheim and the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research in Mainz will now investigate how people in Germany deal with coronavirus-related financial shocks. The project partners contribute their perspectives of economic and business education (Professor Carmela Aprea, University of Mannheim), household economics (Professor Tabea Bucher-Koenen, ZEW Mannheim) and psychological resilience research (Professor Klaus Lieb and Dr. Donya Gilan, Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research) to the research.

“We are particularly interested in how people make decisions while facing high uncertainty and complexity after being hit by a financial shock. This allows us to determine which social and educational policy measures can be used to provide effective and sustainable support for the households affected,” explains Professor Carmela Aprea from the University of Mannheim.

“Research is already being conducted on the general psychological and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is very little research data on the financial challenges and their medium to long-term consequences for households and the economy as a whole,” says Professor Tabea Bucher-Koenen, head of the Research Department “International Finance and Financial Management” at ZEW Mannheim and chairholder at the University of Mannheim.

“A key task for us is to develop individual and structural recommendations for action in order to be able to provide citizens with targeted support in such situations,” explains Professor Klaus Lieb, scientific managing director at the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research. “This is because those affected are exposed to an increased risk of poverty, which can push them to the margins of society.” Dr. Donya Gilan from the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research adds: “Mental health depends heavily on a person’s psychosocial situation. It is above all financial hardships that cause people to suffer from mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders, depression or even addictions, as psychological strategies for coping with such situations are often lacking. As a result, those affected often suffer from permanent stress and social stigmatization.”

The research project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) from 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021. The Ministry has included it in the funding network Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (FIS) as one of twelve projects with a focus on COVID-19. The projects were selected on the basis of their ability to provide the scientific evidence needed to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Dr. Tabea Bucher-Koenen, Phone: +49 (0)621-1235-147, E-mail

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research
ZEW in Mannheim conducts research in the field of applied and policy-oriented economics and provides access to important data sets for national and international researchers. The institute provides advice to policymakers, private companies and government institutions at both the national and EU level on how to tackle current economic policy challenges. The central concern of ZEW’s research is to analyse and design markets and institutions that allow for the sustainable and efficient development of knowledge-based economies in Europe. By keeping the public informed on its latest research and providing further training to researchers and business leaders alike, ZEW acts as a guide through economic change. ZEW was founded in 1991 and employs a staff of approximately 200, two thirds of whom are researchers. ZEW is a member of the Leibniz Association, a network of outstanding research institutes in Germany.

Research at ZEW:
Labour Markets and Human Resources; Digital Economy; Economics of Innovation and Industrial Dynamics; International Finance and Financial Management; Social Policy and Redistribution; Environmental and Resource Economics, Environmental Management; Corporate Taxation and Public Finance; Market Design.

Prof. Dr. Carmela Aprea
Universität Mannheim
68131 Mannheim

Yvonne Kaul
Research Communications
University of Mannheim
Phone: +49 (0) 621 181 -1266