COVID-19 and SMEs: A 2021 Time Bomb?
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Şebnem Kalemli-Özcan, Veronika Penciakova, Nick Sander , ( 111 )
American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings

This paper assesses the prospects of a 2021 "time bomb" in small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) failures triggered by the generous support policies enacted during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. Policies implemented in 2020 do not on their own create a 2021 time bomb for SMEs. Rather, business failures and policy costs remain modest. By contrast, credit contraction poses significant risk. Such a contraction would disproportionately impact firms that could survive COVID-19 in 2020 without any fiscal support.

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