Restaurant turnover and anti-Asian behaviour- Did Asian restaurants in Gothenburg’s’ turnover suffer an outsized pandemic toll in 2020?
COVID-19 has so far been a global crisis for the restaurant industry and Swedish restaurants have struggled to avoid heavy losses. Parallel to reports throughout the pandemic on the loss of turnover for restaurants, there have also been reports on the intensification of anti-Asian behaviour targeting Asian individuals and their businesses. Since restaurants in Sweden continued to operate throughout the pandemic, we make use of the restaurant market in Gothenburg by examining if being an Asian restaurant had a negative effect on turnover in 2020 compared to previous years. We have created a dataset that includes panel data on turnover and control for restaurant characteristics from annual reports, time invariant data on restaurant characteristics and local market level panel data from the City of Gothenburg's database on its 97 primary areas to control for local market demographics and market structure. The main independent variable of interest is an interaction between 2020 and being an Asian restaurant. We identify which restaurants are Asian by using data from Google Maps. The model with the difference-in-differences estimator, time-varying controls and fixed effects indicates that there are no statistically significant results regarding being either East Asian, Southeast Asian, and Chinese restaurant in 2020 in Gothenburg. We have identified that the lack of significant results in the regression might be an effect of the model failing to control for confounds regarding adaptation to the pandemic, primary area time varying confounds such as change in tourism as well as the treatment group being small. Therefore, this thesis provides no empirical evidence of East Asian, Southeast Asian, and Chinese restaurants has an impact on turnover in 2020.
MSc in Economics