Food Insufficiency and Twitter Emotions During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic initially caused worldwide concerns about food insecurity. Tweets analyzed in real-time may help food assistance providers target food supplies to where they are most urgently needed. In this exploratory study, we use natural language processing to extract sentiments and emotions expressed in food security-related tweets early in the pandemic in U.S. states. The emotion joy dominated in these tweets nationally, but only angerdisgust, and fear were also statistically correlated with contemporaneous food insufficiency rates reported in the Household Pulse Survey; more nuanced and statistically stronger correlations are detected within states, including a negative correlation with joy.

Authors: Stephan J. Goetz, Connor Heaton, Muhammad Imran, Yuxuan Pan, Zheng Tian, Claudia Schmidt, Umair Qazi, Ferda Ofli, and Prasenjit Mitra

Publication: Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy   Date Published: April 3, 2022

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