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Effect of COVID‐19 Lockdown on the Profitability of Firms in India

Ritika Jain and Rajnish Kumar

Economic Papers, 2023, vol. 42, issue 1, 54-71

Abstract: We examine the effect of COVID‐19‐induced lockdown on the profitability of listed firms in India. We use quarterly income statement of 4168 listed firms for the period between April–June 2020 quarter and April–June 2022 quarter and compare their financial data with previous quarters (2015–2019). Using a difference‐in‐difference estimation framework and various profitability measures, we find that the COVID‐19 lockdown has reduced profits by around 15 per cent for listed firms in India. Our results are robust to various robustness tests and alternate specifications. We find evidence of firms losing revenues more than expenses, thus leading to decline in profits. The main effect is conditioned by firm‐specific factors. Specifically, firms that are smaller, older, unlisted and that do not belong to any group witnessed larger decline in profitability due to lockdown. Additionally, the effect of lockdown is more pronounced in areas that had lower mobility and higher COVID‐19 spread. These results underscore the importance of institutional factors and pre‐existing firm characteristics in conditioning the impact of lockdown on firm profitability.

Date: 2023
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