Researchers are increasingly exploiting web-searches to study phenomena for which timely and high-frequency data are not readily available. We propose a data-driven procedure which, exploiting machine learning techniques, solves the issue of identifying the list of queries linked to the phenomenon of interest, even in a cross-country setting. Queries are then aggregated in an indicator which can be used for causal inference. We apply this procedure to construct a search-based unemployment index and study the effect of lock-downs during the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic. In a Difference-in-Differences analysis, we show that the indicator rose significantly and persistently in the aftermath of lock-downs. This is not the case when using unprocessed (raw) web search data, which might return a partial figure of the labour market dynamics following lock-downs.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.