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European SMEs amidst the COVID-19 crisis: assessing impact and policy responses

Jill Juergensen (), José Guimón () and Rajneesh Narula ()
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Jill Juergensen: University of Reading
José Guimón: Autonomous University of Madrid

Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, 2020, vol. 47, issue 3, No 10, 499-510

Abstract: Abstract We consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged European small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector, and draw suggests policy implications. The sudden onslaught of the pandemic has acted as an economic shock, and we consider how it is likely to affect different types of manufacturing SMEs. We distinguish between immediate effects, a result of the almost-simultaneous lockdowns across Europe and its major trading partners, and longer-term implications for both SMEs and the global value chains where they are inserted. In the shorter run, most SMEs have faced logistical challenges in addition to demand disruptions, although the severity has differed across firms and industries. We argue that in the longer-term, there will be different challenges and opportunities depending on the type of SME. Policy interventions will also need to be sensitive to the different types of SMEs, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. The policy mix will need to shift from its initial focus on the survival of European SMEs in the short term, towards a more structural and longer-term approach based on promoting their renewal and growth through innovation, internationalization and networking.

Keywords: European SMEs; Innovation; COVID-19; Economic impact; Policy responses (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s40812-020-00169-4

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Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics is currently edited by C. Cambini, M.G. Colombo, L. Piscitello, L. Rondi and A. Zanfei

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