Electricity Use as a Real Time Indicator of the Economic Burden of the COVID-19-Related Lockdown: Evidence From Switzerland

Janzen, Benedikt; Radulescu, Doina Maria (2020). Electricity Use as a Real Time Indicator of the Economic Burden of the COVID-19-Related Lockdown: Evidence From Switzerland. CESifo Economic Studies, 66(4), pp. 303-321. Oxford University Press 10.1093/cesifo/ifaa010

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We employ hourly electricity load data for Switzerland as a real-time indicator of the economic effects of the lockdown following the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Our findings reveal that following the drastic lockdown, overall electricity use decreased by 4.6%, with a reduction of even 14.3% in the Canton of Ticino where the number of confirmed cases per capita was one of the highest in Switzerland and also stricter measures such as closures of construction sites and industrial companies were implemented on top of federal regulations. Looking at working days only, we estimate a Swiss-wide decrease in electricity consumption of 7.4%. Assuming industry, services, transport, and agriculture account for 67% of electricity demand, the 4.6% decrease in electricity use implies an almost 7% output reduction in these sectors. In addition, the reduced electricity imports and the change in the generation mix of neighbouring countries, also translates into reduced CO2 emissions related to these imports.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


11 Centers of Competence > KPM Center for Public Management
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Janzen, Benedikt and Radulescu, Doina Maria


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 350 Public administration & military science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




Oxford University Press




Doina Maria Radulescu

Date Deposited:

04 Dec 2020 16:03

Last Modified:

20 Dec 2020 02:57

Publisher DOI:






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