Author(s): Rejla Bozdo
Abstract: The world faced a new way of organizing everyday life in many countries during 2019. Lockdowns applied in many societies. People adopted a “new way” of living which now is called “the new normal”. The tense days spent under the virus threat made people experience changes in their daily lives, plus it forced them into behaving differently than before when the fear of any pandemic was almost nonexistent. This research was conducted during the days of lockdown and it indicates the feelings people experienced during the conditions of lockdown, in particular: on the magnitude of anxiety they felt, how anxiety may have affected perceptions and behaviors related to economy; furthermore, on the perceptions of economic crisis. Also gender differences were tested regarding the above. An online survey was conducted in Albania from March 22nd to April 4th, 2020, during the lockdown period of COVID-19. Since the 9th of March 2020, the Albanian government started issuing the anti-COVID-19 measures that were toughened later in the following weeks of March and April. The education institutions were closed and other public and private services were limited. The government issued a strict curfew allowing people to go out in limited hours, in some days up to one hour. Some weekends the curfew lasted for 24-48 hours in isolation where citizens were prohibited to walk outside of their homes. Transportation was limited to the employee shuttles and distribution transportation services only. Private cars were not allowed for many weeks. Physical stores were closed; only those selling food could open for limited hours. 1205 respondents participated in this online survey, from which 1061 valid questionnaires were analyzed, in a sample of 66.2% female and 33.8% male, providing data regarding their feelings during quarantine, their decisions related to future spending and how they perceived the future economic situation. The aim is to investigate the relation between anxiety and economic crises perceptions, the levels of anxiety and decision-makings on future spending and if there is any variance affected by gender, in order to have an outcome on the assumption that anxiety feelings may affect peoples’ behavior as consumers. The results of this research show that there are differences between male and female groups on the levels of anxiety experienced during the lockdown and on the level of perception of future economic crisis, but there is no difference between gender groups regarding the decision in reducing future spending. Another finding from this research is that people experiencing high levels of anxiety, were more likely to lessen their future expenses. Also, there is a significant relationship between anxiety and the level of perception on the fear of future economic crisis in the country. People with high levels of anxiety, perceive a higher level of crisis. There is a significant relationship between anxiety and decision-making of reducing the future spending. People with high levels of anxiety, have higher levels of reduction of future spending. The decreasing of future spending is related more to the perception of future economic crisis than to feelings of anxiety.
Keywords: COVID-19, anxiety, perception on economy, gender differences, lockdown
DOI: 10.37394/23207.2021.18.50WSEAS Transactions on Business and Economics, ISSN / E-ISSN: 1109-9526 / 2224-2899, Volume 18, 2021, Art. #50