COVID-19 Small Business Study: Neilson et al.

The COVID-19 International Small Business Study surveys business owners on how the current public health and economic crisis has affected their businesses, and how government relief packages can help.

Along with economists from Oxford and Yale, and a team of more than 20 research assistants, we monitored economic relief policies in 10 different countries, created surveys in 3 languages, and surveyed over 40,000 business owners across the United States and Latin America.

We find that, in the United States, the smallest businesses had the least awareness of government assistance programs. These firms were less likely to apply for the PPP and, conditional on applying, they applied later, waited longer for their application to be approved, and were less likely to get approval. Our results suggest that information frictions, combined with the “first-come, first-served” nature of the PPP, played a central role in the inequality of access to program resources. 

The COVID-19 International Small Business Study has been featured in news outlets such as The Economist, Futurity, and El Tiempo.