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Policies to Support Businesses through the COVID-19 Shock: A Firm Level Perspective

Xavier Cirera, Marcio Cruz, Elwyn Davies, Arti Grover, Leonardo Iacovone (), José López-Córdova (), Denis Medvedev, Franklin Maduko (), Gaurav Nayyar, Santiago Reyes Ortega and Jesica Torres

World Bank Research Observer, 2021, vol. 36, issue 1, 41-66

Abstract: Relying on a novel dataset covering more than 120,000 firms in 60 countries, this paper contributes to the debate about policies to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. While governments around the world have implemented a wide range of policy support measures, evidence on the reach of these policies, the alignment of measures with firm needs, and their targeting and effectiveness remains scarce. This paper provides the most comprehensive assessment to date of these issues, focusing primarily on developing economies. It shows that policy reach has been limited, especially for more vulnerable firms and countries, and identifies mismatches between policies provided and policies most sought. It also provides some indicative evidence regarding mistargeting of policies and their effectiveness in addressing liquidity constraints and preventing layoffs. This assessment provides some early guidance to policymakers on tailoring their COVID-19 business support packages and points to new directions in data and research efforts needed to guide policy responses to the current pandemic and future crises.

Keywords: COVID-19; firms; policies; uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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