Small Firms and the Pandemic: Evidence From Latin America

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October 2021
Paper author(s): 
Maria Elena Guerrero
John Eric Humphries
Christopher A. Neilson
Naomi Shimberg
Gabriel Ulyssea
Financial Economics

This paper studies the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses between March and November 2020 using new survey data on 35,000 small businesses in eight Latin American countries. We document that the pandemic had large negative impacts on employment and beliefs regarding the future, which in turn predict meaningful economic outcomes in the medium-term. Despite the unprecedented amount of aid, policies had limited impact for small and informal firms. These firms were less aware of programs, applied less, and received less assistance. This may have lasting consequences, as businesses that received aid reported better outcomes and expectations about the future.


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